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A Birth of Jazz

A YouTube History of Music

Swing Era 2


Group & Last Name Index to Full History:


Tracks are listed in chronological order by year, then alphabetically.

Listings do not reflect proper order by month or day: later oft precedes earlier.

Not on this page? See history tree below.



Andrew Sisters

Mildred Bailey    Boswell Sisters    Al Bowlly
Buddy Clark
Denny Dennis
Ray Eberle    Bob Eberly
Ella Fitzgerald    Helen Forrest
Judy Garland
Adelaide Hall    Billie Holiday    Lena Horne    Helen Humes    Betty Hutton    Marion Hutton
Kitty Kallen
Peggy Lee
Ethel Merman    Mills Brothers    The Modernaires    Ella Mae Morse
Helen O'Connell    Anita O'Day
Pickens Sisters    Pied Pipers
Jimmy Rushing
Dinah Shore    Frank Sinatra    Valaida Snow    Jo Stafford    Maxine Sullivan
Rosetta Tharpe    Martha Tilton
Helen Ward    Ethel Waters    Lee Wiley

On the Sunny Side of the Street



Featured on this page loosely in order of first recording if not record release (as possible).

Names are alphabetical, not chronological, per year:



Ethel Waters

1925 Boswell Sisters 
1926 Al Bowlly
1927 Adelaide Hall    Helen Humes
1929 Mildred Bailey    Jimmy Rushing
1930 Ray Eberle    Ethel Merman
1931 Mills Brothers    Pickens Sisters    Lee Wiley
1933 Denny Dennis    Billie Holiday    Valaida Snow
1934 Buddy Clark    Helen Ward
1935 Bob Eberly
1936 Ella Fitzgerald    Judy Garland    Lena Horne
1937 Andrew Sisters    The Modernaires    Maxine Sullivan    Martha Tilton
1938 Helen Forrest    Betty Hutton    Marion Hutton    Jo Stafford    Rosetta Tharpe
1939 Kitty Kallen    Helen O'Connell    Pied Pipers    Frank Sinatra
1940 Dinah Shore
1941 Peggy Lee    Anita O'Day
1942 Ella Mae Morse

1930   On the Sunny Side of the Street


  Swing era vocals by bandleaders (such as Blanche or Cab Calloway) will be found in Swing Jazz 1. Swing era vocal groups not on this page can be found in Doo Wop.



Born in Chester Pennsylvania in 1896, Ethel Waters ("Blackbird") first recorded in 1921, first a couple jazz songs ('The New York Glide' and 'At the New Jump Steady Ball'), then a couple blues tunes ('Oh Daddy' and 'Down Home Blues'). Waters had married at age thirteen. But he was abusive, to which she preferred to become a maid in Philadelphia. At age 17 she attended a nightclub costume party at which she was requested to sing a couple songs. That led to her first professional gig at Lincoln Theatre in Baltimore. Ten dollars a week, with tips thrown on stage by the audience taken by the managers, after which she began touring the vaudeville circuit. She eventually settled in Harlem where she played the clubs (eventually the prestigious Cotton Club) and began recording, making such a name for herself that she would soon be working with such as Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson. Her first film appearance is thought to be 'On With the Show' in 1929, though she earlier played Broadway as well. She then topped it all off with a couple autobiographies: 'His Eye Is On the Sparrow' and 'To Me, It's Wonderful'. Waters died in California September 1, 1977, 80 years of age. More Ethel Waters to be found in Blues 2. Also find her under pianist James Johnson in Early Jazz 3.

Ethel Waters 1921

   At the New Jump Steady Ball

   The New York Glide

Ethel Waters 1925

   I've Found a New Baby

Ethel Waters 1926

   Heebie Jeebies

Ethel Waters 1929

   Birmingham Bertha

   Shoo Shoo Boogie Boo

Ethel Waters 1933

   Stormy Weather

      With Duke Ellington

Ethel Waters 1934

   Miss Otis Regrets

Ethel Waters 1965

   His Eye Is On the Sparrow

      Live performance

Ethel Waters 1975

   His Eye Is On the Sparrow

      Live performance


Birth of Swing Jazz: Ethel Waters

Ethel Waters

Photo: Carl Van Vechten

Source: Ethel Waters

Birth of Jazz: Boswell Sisters

Boswell Sisters

Source: Queer Music Heritage

Hailing from New Orleans, the Boswell Sisters released their first recordings in 1925, bringing female harmony to jazz about a decade before the Andrew Sisters. Consisting of Connee (Connie), Martha and Helvetia "Vet" Boswell, among those with whom the Sisters worked were the Dorseys, Benny Goodman, Bunny Berigan, Manny Klein, Carl Kress, Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti. Their major contemporary rivals were the Pickens Sisters and the X Sisters. Connee Boswell was herself bound to a wheelchair since childhood, some say due to an accident, others polio. The Boswell Sisters made their last recordings together for Decca Records on February 12, 1936: 'Let Yourself Go' and 'I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket'. Connee moving onward to a solo career. The trio was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.

Boswell Sisters   1925

   Nights When I Am Lonely

Boswell Sisters   1930


Boswell Sisters   1931

   River, Stay Away From My Door

   What'd You Do To Me

Boswell Sisters   1932

   Crazy People

   Everybody Loves My Baby

   Got the South In My Soul

   If It Ain't Love

   Sleepy Time Down South

Boswell Sisters   1933

   Mood Indigo

   Sophisticated Lady

   That's How Rhythm Was Born

Boswell Sisters   1936

   I'm Going to Sit Right Down

   I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket

      Last recording 2/12/36

   Let Yourself Go

     Recorded 2/12/36

   Swing Me A Lullaby



Birth of Swing Jazz: Al Bowlly

Al Bowlly

Source: Live Blues

Born in 1898 in Mozambique, guitarist Al Bowlly laid more than a thousand tracks during his brief fifteen-year recording career. He was fairly well-known in America as well, though recorded largely in Berlin and London. Among the earliest of crooners, Bowlly's first professional work was also as a vocalist with the Edgar Adeler ensemble, touring South Africa, Rhodesia, India and Indonesia. He then worked with the Jimmy Liquime band in India and Singapore. It was with Liquime that Bowlly made his first recordings in 1926 in Calcutta, India, playing banjo on 'Soho Blues' and 'The House Where the Shutters Are Green'. (He plays banjo on 'The House Where the Shutters Are Green' below. He plays guitar with Jimmy Mesene on the bottom two tracks for 1941 below.) Bowlly then made his way to Berlin, hooking up with Arthur Briggs for his first Berlin session in January, 'Ca c'est Paris' and 'Black Bottom' among those titles. He also recorded in his own name in Berlin for the first time, playing ukulele with pianist, Edagar Adelat, on 'Say, Mister, Have You Met Rosie's Sister?', issued by Electrola. Tom Lord's discography doesn't mention that tune also recorded with 'Blue Skies' (Irving Berlin) for the Homochord label, both 4-2386, recorded on August 18 according to the Memory Lane Al Bowlly website. Bowlly's biography gets iffy between '28 and '30 concerning trips across the Channel. Lord's discography estimates Bowlly's first recordings in London to be circa January of '28 with the Melodians, 'Sugar' among four titles issued by EBW. Lord lists that session before several others back in Berlin the same month with John Abriani, which may account for a first trip to London before returning to Berlin, then returning to London by summer to record with Fred Elizalde and His Music circa July of '28. Lord's discography has him back in Berlin the same summer to record with Billy Bartholomew's Delphians Jazz Band for Grammophon (such as 'Bygones' and 'Rain'). Sessions with Elizalde follow in London through '1928. February of '29 found Bowlly recording 'What a Wonderful Wedding That Will Be' with Len Fillis' Entertainers before a session in April to record 'Up in the Clouds' with pianist, Percival Mackey, in the Ever-Bright Boys, both in London. Lord's discography then has Bowlly back in Berlin again with Bartholomew recording such as 'Louise' in October of '29 before another session with Elizalde in London in December, the latter's band now called the Rhythmusicians: 'After the Sun Kissed the World Goodbye' and 'If Anything Happened to You'. Bowlly would appear to be in England permanently by then. His first recordings with Ray Noble's Night Club Kings in July of 1930 went unissued. The next year, however, he found himself recording with Noble's New Mayfair Orchestra at Small Queen's Hall on February 24, to issue 'Makin' Wicki-Wacki Down in Waikiki' and 'Shout for Happiness'. Bowlly would stick with Noble into 1936. A month prior to the New Mayfair Orchestra Bowlly had recorded with Roy Fox' band. That January 28 session ('31) yielded "a Peach of a Pair'. Bowlly worked with Fox until Lew Stone assumed leadership of Fox' orchestra in 1932, renaming it the Monseigneur Band. Bowlly's initial titles with Stone were from a session on October 31, 1932: 'Nightfall', 'Rain, Rain, Go Away', 'In the Still of the Night' and 'Why Waste Your Tears?'. Bowlly would record with Stone into 1938. Bowlly began a duo with guitarist and vocalist Jimmy Mesene, in 1940. The last song Bowlly recorded was with Mesene: 'When That Man Is Dead and Gone' in 1941. It was World War II and the Germans were bombing. Bowlly was killed two weeks later (April 17) by a Luftwaffe parachute mine that exploded outside his flat in London, blowing his door off its hinges and striking him. Not (necessarily) a petard, but certainly ironic. Much more Bowlly under Ray Noble in Swing Jazz 1.

Al Bowlly   1926

   The House Where the Shutters Are Green

      With Jimmy Liquime

Al Bowlly   1927

   Are You Happy?

   Blue Skies

Al Bowlly   1928

   If I Had You

   I'm Sorry, Sally

Al Bowlly   1929

   Deep In a Dream

Al Bowlly   1931


   I Was True

Al Bowlly   1932

   All of Me


   My Woman

   Please Don't Mention It

      Vocal: Anona Winn

   You've Got What Get's Me

Al Bowlly   1933

   It's Bad For Me

   Learn to Croon

Al Bowlly   1934

   Night and Day

   Love In Bloom

Al Bowlly   1935

   Basin Street Blues

   Roll Along Prairie Moon

Al Bowlly   1936

   Yours Truly Is Truly Yours

Al Bowlly   1938

   Something to Sing About

Al Bowlly   1941

   Nicky the Geek (Is Gone)

      Guitar duet with Jimmy Mesene

   When That Man Is Dead And Gone

      Guitar duet with Jimmy Mesene


  Born in 1901 in Brooklyn, Adelaide Hall made her first recordings with Duke Ellington in 1927: 'Creole Love Call', 'The Blues I Love To Sing' and 'Chicago Stomp Down'. The next year she appeared on Broadway in 'Blackbirds of 1928' with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. That role made her a big name of a sudden, followed by another with Robinson in 1930 in 'Brown Buddies'. Now ready for Europe, she started touring both there and in America  in 1931. Returning to New York in 1932, she and her husband (since 1924, also her business manager) purchased an estate in Larchmont, New York, thought to be too high end for black folks. She was threatened with eviction and her new home set afire, giving cause to later move to London instead. In 1933 she toured America again (including the World's Fair in Chicago) and was a featured star in the 'Stormy Weather Revue' at Harlem's Cotton Club. The next year she appeared at the Apollo Theater in Harlem in 'Chocolate Soldiers', then again at the Cotton Club in 'The Cotton Club Parade' (24th edition). Hall's arrival in Paris in 1935 brought Josephine Baker (another American export to Europe) a seriously contending rival. She crossed the Channel in 1938 and began working in the United Kingdom. During World War II she entertained troops with the USO and its British equivalent, ENSA. After the war, Hall added radio and television for the BBC, as well as film, to her fame as a cabaret singer. She began working across the Atlantic in the States again in 1980, eventually appearing at Carnegie Hall in 1988. Her final public appearance was at Carnegie Hall in 1992. Hall died in November the next year in London.

Adelaide Hall   1927

   Chicago Stomp Down

   Creole Love Call

   The Blues I Love To Sing

Adelaide Hall   1928


Adelaide Hall   1933

   Drop Me Off In Harlem

      With the Mills Blue Rhythm Band

Adelaide Hall   1935

   To Love You Again


Adelaide Hall   1937

   Stormy Weather

   There's a Lull In My Life

   Where Or When

      With Kai Ewens

Adelaide Hall   1940

   I Wanna Be Loved

Adelaide Hall   1944

   T'ain't What You Do It's the Way That Cha Do It


Adelaide Hall   1947

   Variety In Sepia


Adelaide Hall   1948

   The Gospel Train


   Swing Low, Sweet Chariot


Adelaide Hall   1989

   I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby

      Live performance


Birth of Swing Jazz: Adelaide Hall

Adelaide Hall

Source: Black Kudos


Born in 1913 in Louisville, Kentucky, Helen Humes first recorded with blues guitarist Sylvester Weaver in 1927 (age 14). Those were 'Black Cat Blues' and 'A Worried Woman's Blues' from a session in April for Okeh. Two more sessions with Weaver in November yielded 'Garlic Blues' among others. Humes' big break arrived in 1937 when she joined Harry James' big band. The next year she replaced Billie Holiday with the Count Basie Orchestra. In 1944 she moved to Los Angeles where she began recording soundtracks and appearing in films. She was featured in Jazz at the Philharmonic on five occasions. Other important collaborations during her career were with Teddy Wilson, Benny Carter and Nat King Cole. In 1956 Humes toured Australia with Red Norvo, returning there in 1962 and '64. Humes appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1959, the Monterey Jazz Festival in '60 and '62, and toured Europe with the initial American Folk Blues Festival in 1962. In 1967 she retired, taking a job in a factory that manufactured ammunition. Yet, in 1973 she was encouraged to appear at the Newport Jazz Festival again, which by hook and crook landed her in Europe to perform and record in France, before appearing at the Cookery in NYC from 1974 to 1977. The seventies saw Humes returning to work in Europe on occasion, before recording her last album in 1980, titled simply 'Helen' (Muse Records). Humes died of cancer in 1981 in Santa Monica, California. More Helen Humes in A Birth of Rock n Roll 2.

Helen Humes   1937

   I Can Dream, Can't I

      With Harry James

Helen Humes   1938

   Song Of The Wanderer

      With Harry James

Helen Humes   1939

   Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

      With Count Basie

Helen Humes   1941


      With Don Byas and Thelonious Monk

Helen Humes   1942

   Unlucky Woman

Helen Humes   1945


Helen Humes   1949

   Jet Propelled Mama

Helen Humes   1950

   Million Dollar Secret

Helen Humes   1962

   The Blues Ain't Nothin' But a Woman

      American Folk and Blues Festival

      Guitar: T-Bone Walker   Piano: Memphis Slim


Birth of Swing Jazz: Helen Humes

Helen Humes

Source: Data B


Born Mildred Rinker in 1907 in Tekoa, Washington, Mildred Bailey kept the last name of her early husband, Ted Bailey, because she thought it have a more American appeal than Rinker. It was Bing Crosby who introduced Bailey to Paul Whiteman, with whom she first performed for radio in 1929 (a version of 'Moanin' Low'). That same year found her making her first recordings, 'What Kind Of Man Is You' among them, with Eddy Lang. That was followed In 1930 by 'I Like the Things You Do', among others, with Frank Trumbauer. She isn't thought to have been originally credited on either. As a major jazz singer, Bailey would be found working with a number of big names. Her first recordings with the Dorsey Brothers were on April 8, 1933 with trumpeter, Bunny Berigan: two takes of 'Is That Religion?' and two of 'Harlem Lullaby'. She would lay tracks with both Jimmy and Tommy in the forties. Come her first session on February 2, 1934, with Benny Goodman, 'Junk Man' among others. Goodman was Bailey's main vehicle into 1939, also featuring with him in the forties. Bailey's most important collaborator was her third husband, Red Norvo, with whom she began working in 1936 when he joined her Swing Band in NYC, first recording itogether on November 20: 'I'd Love to Take Orders from You', 'I'd Rather Listen to Your Eyes', 'Someday, Sweetheart' and 'When Day Is Done'. Norvo and Bailey were billed as "Mr. and Mrs. Swing". Bailey died in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1951 of heart failure largely due to diabetes. More Mildred Bailey under Red Norvo in Swing Jazz 1.

Mildred Bailey   1929

   What Kind Of Man Is You

Mildred Bailey   1930

   I like to Do Things For You

      Sax: Frank Trumbauer

Mildred Bailey   1931

   Blues In My Heart

      With the Casa Loma Orchestra

   We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye

      With Paul Whiteman

Mildred Bailey   1932

   Rockin' Chair

      With Paul Whiteman

Mildred Bailey   1935

   Someday Sweetheart

      With the Alley Cats

Mildred Bailey   1938

   Please Be Kind

      Vibraphone: Red Norvo

   Says My Heart

      Vibraphone: Red Norvo

   Thanks for the Memory

Mildred Bailey   1941

   I'm Afraid of Myself

      With the Delta Rhythm Boys


Birth of Swing Jazz: Mildred Bailey

Mildred Bailey

Source: WBGO

Birth of Swing Jazz: Jimmy Rushing

Jimmy Rushing

Photo: Associated Press

Source: Keep Swinging


Born in 1901 in Oklahoma City, though more famous as a vocalist, Jimmy (James) Rushing was a pianist as well. He began traveling the Midwest in 1923 as an itinerant blues vocalist. He worked briefly with Jelly Roll Morton in California before joining Walter Page and the Blue Devils, with whom he made his first recording in 1929 ('Blue Devil Blues'). Rushing later joined Count Basie in 1935 and remained with him until Basie dismantled that band in 1950. They would reunite on occasion in the fifties and sixties. Rushing had first encountered Basie when the latter hired onto the band of Bennie Moten in 1930 as a pianist, 'Won't You Be My Baby', Rushing's first track with Basie in Moten's operation. His first tracks with Basie's band were in the latter's Smith-Jones Incorporated on November 9, 1936: 'Evenin'' and 'Boogie Woogie'.  Rushing released his first album, 'The Jazz Odyssey Of Jimmy Rushing Esq', in 1956. In 1958 he toured the United Kingdom with trumpeter, Humphrey Lyttelton. He passed away in 1972 in NYC of leukemia.

Jimmy Rushing   1929

   Blue Devil Blues

      With Walter Page & the Blue Devils

Jimmy Rushing   1937

   Good Morning Blues

      With Count Basie

Jimmy Rushing   1938

   Blues In the Dark

      With Count Basie

   The Blues I Like to Hear

      With Count Basie

   Now You Will Be Good

      With Count Basie

Jimmy Rushing   1939

   Evil Blues

      With Count Basie

Jimmy Rushing   1941

   Undecided Blues

      With Count Basie

Jimmy Rushing   1944

   Jimmy's Blues

      With Count Basie

Jimmy Rushing   1956

   New Orleans

Jimmy Rushing   1957

   I Left My Baby

      With Count Basie

Jimmy Rushing   1958

   Pennies From Heaven

      With Benny Goodman

Jimmy Rushing   1962

   Good Morning Blues

      Live film performance

   I'm Coming Virginia/Going To Chicago

      Live film performance



Birth of Swing Jazz: Ray Eberle

Ray Eberle

Source: Mike Kaba

Born in 1919 in Hoosick Falls, New York, Ray Eberle was the younger brother of singer Bob Eberly by two and a half years. Eberly sang with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. As for Eberle, Tom Lord's discography has him first recording with the Casa Loma Orchestra (CLO) in NYC on February 11, 1930, performing alto sax on 'China Girl' and 'San Sue Strut'. Eberle began his career playing alto sax, meanwhile recording his first and only vocal with the CLO on April 18, 1930: 'Leave It That Way'. His next vocals weren't until he joined Glenn Miller. His last session with the CLO was December 6 that year, yielding such as 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' and 'Overnight'. Lord's doesn't pick him up again until his first session with Irving Aaronson on October 12, 1933, on alto sax ('Marching Along Together' et al), recording with Aaronson until April of '35 ('Jazzaroo' et al). Eberle's big break came as a vocalist with Glenn Miller, recording such as 'Don't Wake Up My Heart' on May 23 of 1938 in NYC. That was followed on June 18 with a live radio broadcast from the Paradise Restaurant for NBC, 'On the Sentimental Side' among others. Memorable in 1939 were Eberle's NBC Meadowbrook broadcasts with Miller from Cedar Grove, New Jersey in March, 'Sometime' from their last session there on April 18. Eberle appeared with Miller in the films, 'Sun Valley Serenade' and 'Orchestra Wives' in '41 and '42. Upon Miller terminating his band in '42 to join the Army per World War II Eberle sang for Gene Krupa, first recording with  Krupa during a CBS radio broadcast from the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles on November 13, 1942: 'Cow Cow Boogie', 'Rose Ann of Charing Cross' and 'Knock Me a Kiss'. Eberle held various sessions with Krupa while touring until their last on February 9, 1943, yielding 'Knock Me a Kiss' and 'Stuff in Your Cuff'. He isn't found recording again until 1945 in NYC with his own band, 3 Men & a Chord, 'At Last' among 14 titles from that session to be issued by the McGregor label. Upon starting to lead his own orchestra, his first recordings were for V-Disc in latter '46 or early '47: 'Stella By Starlight' and 'It's the Same Old Dream'. Having first performed with Tex Beneke in Glenn Miller's operation, Eberle would sing for Beneke in the fifties. In 1970 he would tour with Beneke. Eberle died in Georgia in 1979. He sings with the Glenn Miller Orchestra in all tracks below unless otherwise noted.

Ray Eberle  1930

   China Girl

      Casa Loma Orchestra

   Leave It That Way

      Casa Loma Orchestra

   San Sue Strut

      Casa Loma Orchestra

Ray Eberle  1934

   Pardon My Southern Accent

      With Irving Aaronson   Vocal: Ernie Mathias

Ray Eberle  1938

   Live at the Paradise Restaurant

Ray Eberle  1939

   Faithful Forever

   Indian Summer

   Moon Love

   My Prayer

Ray Eberle  1940

   The Nearness of You

Ray Eberle  1941

   Everything I Love

Ray Eberle  1942

   At Last

      Film: 'Orchestra Wives'   With Lynn Bari

Ray Eberle  1945


     With Paul Whiteman



Born in 1908 in Queens, actress Ethel Merman was a secretary when she began her career in theatre in the mid-twenties. She appeared in her first film, 'Follow the Leader' (unfound) in 1930, but the major boost to her early career arrived with her performance of 'I Got Rhythm' in her first theatre performance, 'Girl Crazy', the same year. Though Merman may be more famous as Lucille Ball's sidekick on the television comedy, 'I Love Lucy', she was a bridge figure from swing to modern jazz, something illustrating the powerful role of Broadway and Hollywood in the popularization jazz. Her first autobiography, 'Who Could Ask for Anything More?', was published in 1955. Among her more significant Broadway engagements during her later career was 'Gypsy', a biographical account of Gypsy Rose Lee in which she was cast as Lee's mother, opening in 1959. (She lost the film role to Rosalind Russell in 1962.) In 1978 she published her second memoir, 'Merman'. Politically, she was a Republican. Merman died in her sleep of brain tumor in 1984.

Ethel Merman   1930

   I Got Rhythm

      From the Broadway play 'Girl Crazy'

Ethel Merman   1931

   After I've Gone

      Film: 'Be Like Me'

   The Devil Sea/Glory, Glory


Ethel Merman   1934

   An Earful of Music and an Armful Of You

      Film: 'Kid Millions'

Ethel Merman   1950

   Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

Ethel Merman   1957

   Walking Happy

Ethel Merman   1977

   Blow, Gabriel, Blow


Birth of Swing Jazz: Ethel Merman

Ethel Merman

Source: The Dickenson



The Mills Brothers were born to parents who owned a barbershop, so decided to form a barbershop quartet. Propitiously, they had four sons, all born in Piqua, Ohio, to do just that: Donald (lead tenor), Harry (baritone), Herbert (tenor) and John Jr. (bass vocals and guitar). At first called the Four Kings of Harmony, the quartet began singing in churches, then advanced to theatres, supper clubs, music halls and tent shows. They got their first big break at radio station WLW in Cincinnati in 1931, and with Duke Ellington briefly after that. The quartet released its first tune, 'Tiger Rag', in December 1931, that recorded October 11 for Brunswick (6197). They also recorded with the Boswell Sisters and Bing Crosby in '31. They first appeared in film in 1932 in 'The Big Broadcast'. In 1934 they became the first black entertainers to perform for British royalty (Queen Mary and King George V). Upon their return to England in 1936, John Jr. died of pneumonia. He was replaced by his father, John Sr., and guitarist Norman Brown. Starting in 1939 the Brothers toured Australia and South America. By the time they returned to the States in 1941 their major rival, the Ink Spots (Rock 3), had become a force with which to contend. Harry was drafted about that time and replaced by Gene Smith for a year. John Sr. quit performing in 1957, when the Mills Brothers continued as a trio, until Harry's death in 1982. Donald and Herbert continued as a duo until the latter died in 1989, at which time Donald began performing with his son John III. Donald died of pneumonia in 1999, whence John III continued the Mills Brothers' name with Elmer Hopper. Like Ella Fitzgerald with whom the Mills Brothers recorded, they were notable for scat singing. Among others with whom the group recorded was Louis Armstrong. More recordings by the Brothers will be found in Doo Wop, as well as other vocal groups about their period.

Mills Brothers   1931

   Tiger Rag

   Nobody's Sweetheart

Mills Brothers   1934

   Swing It, Sister

Mills Brothers   1956

   Glow Worm

Mills Brothers   1982



Birth of Swing Jazz: Mill Brothers

Mills Brothers

Photo: Otto Bettmann/Corbis Archives

Source: Hit of the Week


Pickens Sisters

Source: New York Swing Jazz

The Pickens Sisters were one of the four most popular female trios during the swing era: the Three X Sisters, the Boswells and the Andrew Sisters. They're also another of those musical figures concerning whom what little information can be found is contradictory. Consisting of Helen, Jane and Patti Pickens, the Sisters are commonly said to have first recorded in 1932 for Victor upon their family moving from Georgia to Manhattan. But multiple documentation exists revealing that they earlier recorded for Columbia in July of 1931 with Ben Selvin. Jane was the trio's arranger, and a fourth sister, Grace, was the trio's manager. The Pickens started broadcasting their own radio show in 1932, which ran a stretch of four years. In 1937 the group disbanded, all getting married, including Grace and Jane, the latter the only sister to continue a career in music. It's said that in the brief several years that the Pickens Sisters existed they earned themselves a million dollars.

Pickens Sisters   1931

   My Tooth Says I Wanna

      With Ben Selvin

   Nobody Loves No Baby

      With Ben Selvin

Pickens Sisters   1932

   Too Many Tears

   Was That the Human Thing to Do?

Pickens Sisters   1933

   Night And Day

      With Paul Whiteman

Pickens Sisters   1934

   Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?



Born in 1908 in Gibson, Oklahoma, Lee Wiley left home as a teenager to begin a career in music with violinist and bandleader Leo Reisman, her first recording with him in 1931: 'Take It from Me'. She recorded with Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees in '32, then began 1933 with Victor Young and his Serenaders, to record with the Dorseys later that year. Either with her own orchestras or those of others Wiley bumped shoulders with numerous big names throughout her career, to list but a few: the Casa Loma Orchestra, Paul Whiteman, Bunny Berigan and Max Kaminsky. Her most significant companion, however, was guitarist, Eddie Condon. Wiley's first recording with Condon is thought to have been on November 5, 1938, yielding 'Sugar' from a performance for BBC at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. They would record with Fats Waller ten days later with Kaminsky's orchestra. They made some private recordings in Hollywood in 1939: 'You're So Indiff'rent', 'All I Remember Is You' and 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love'. Wiley started recording with Condon's bands in 1942 ('Stormy Weather' et al), heavily in '44 and '45, again in '49 for television. In 1954 she appeared at the first Newport Jazz Festival with Bobby Hackett. In 1963 she starred in the film, 'Something About Lee Wiley'. Last performing in 1972 at Carnegie Hall, she died three years later in December 1975 in New York City.

Lee Wiley   1931

   Take It From Me

      With Leo Reisman

   Time On My Hands

      With Leo Reisman

Lee Wiley   1932

   Got the South In My Soul

      With Leo Reisman

Lee Wiley   1933

      With Victor Young

   I Got a Right to Sing the Blues

   You're an Old Smoothie

      With Victor Young

Lee Wiley   1934

   Careless Love

   If I Love Again

   Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

   A Thousand Good Nights

Lee Wiley   1936

   I've Got You Under My Skin

Lee Wiley   1939

   But Not For Me

   I've Got A Crush On You

      Piano: Fats Waller

Lee Wiley   1940

   Down With Love

Lee Wiley   1944

   Don't Blame Me

      With Eddie Condon

   The Man I Love

      With Leo Reisman

Lee Wiley   1950

   I've Got a Crush On You

Lee Wiley   1951


Lee Wiley   1952

   Baby Won't You Please Come Home

      With Henry Red Allen

Lee Wiley   1957

   From the Land of the Sky-Blue Water

   A Touch Of the Blues


Birth of Swing Jazz: Lee Wiley

Lee Wiley

Source: Phoenix Muskogee

  Born Ronald Dennis Pountain in 1913 in Derby, England, Denny Dennis was something of England's Bing Crosby. His first recordings were in 1933 for the HMV label with the Jack Jackson Orchestra: 'From Me to You', 'Reflections In the Water' and 'I'm Getting Sentimental Over You' (none found). He next recorded with Roy Fox on Decca the same year. His first session with Fox on July 10 yielded 'Drowsy Blues' and 'Jungle Drums'. Dennis exchanged Fox for Bert Ambrose' orchestra in 1938, 'Joseph, Jospeh' among titles from his first session with Ambrose in October.  Dennis left Ambrose for the Skyrockets Dance Orchestra in 1944, his first session with that band in spring to issue such as 'I'm Sending My Blessings' and 'Stairway to the Stars'. His initial recordings with the Squadronaires were about May of '44. Dennis was with the Skyrockets for less than a year, last recording with them in January of '45, but continued with the Squadronaires into 1947. Dennis didn't visit the States until 1948, doing radio and touring with Tommy Dorsey for a year. Dennis' first of numerous sessions with Dorsey were from an AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) radio broadcast from the Coliseum in Orlando, Florida, yielding such as 'Mary Lou'. He last recorded with Dorsey in April of '49 in NYC (Victor to issue such as 'Dream of You') before returning to London. Dennis continued to perform into the eighties, dying in Cumbria, England in 1993.

Denny Dennis   1933

   This Is Romance

Denny Dennis   1934

   Little Man, You've Had a Busy Day

Denny Dennis   1935

   Accent On Youth

Denny Dennis   1936

   It's a Sin to Tell a Lie


   Your Heart And Mine

Denny Dennis   1937

   They Can't Take That Away From Me

   Too Marvelous For Words

   The Donkey Serenade

Denny Dennis   1938

   Flat Foot Floogie

Denny Dennis   1946

   It's the Bluest Kind of Blues

Denny Dennis   1948

   I'd Love To See You Home To-Night

Denny Dennis   1949

   Someone Like You

Denny Dennis   1958

   Love Me Forever

   Magic Moments


Birth of Swing Jazz: Denny Dennis

Denny Dennis

Source: Jazz Age Music

Birth of Swing Jazz: Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

Source: Sandrobian

Born Eleanora Fagan in 1915 in Philadelphia, jazz singer Billie Holiday (Lady Day) began her recording career at age eighteen (1933) with Benny Goodman. That track was 'Your Mothers Son-In-Law'. Holiday had become a prostitute in Harlem at age fourteen ($5 per, which wasn't cheap at the time), her mother also a brothel worker. Upon beginning to sing in Harlem nightclubs she changed her last name to that of her father's performing name, a jazz guitarist, Clarence Holiday, who had abandoned her at birth. She first collaborated in 1929 with tenor sax man, Kenneth Hollan. While working a slew of clubs in NYC she happened to reconnect with her father in 1931, he working with Fletcher Henderson at the time. Her first two recordings with Goodman, 'Your Mother's Son-In-Law', 'Keep On Doin' What You're Doin'', 'Riffin' the Scotch', etc., weren't big sellers (300 and 5000 copies respectively), but that worried not John Hammond, the record producer largely responsible for her discovery and initiation to the greater jazz scene. As he had with Goodman, Hammond paired Holiday with pianist and bandleader, Teddy Wilson, in 1935. Their first recordings together that year were 'I Wished on the Moon', 'What a Little Moonlight Can Do', 'Miss Brown to You' and 'A Sunbonnet Blue'. Holiday also appeared in her first film in 1935, Duke Ellington's 'Symphony in Black'. Holiday also released titles in her own name apart from Wilson, her first session as Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra on June 15, 1937, those titles: 'Me, Myself and I', 'A Sailboat in the Moonlight', 'Born to Love' and 'Without Your Love'. Other than Wilson, top name musicians with whom Holiday worked in the latter thirties included Artie Shaw who first recorded in her orchestra July 10, 1936 in NYC, 'No Regrets' among others. They would be found on numerous titles together, including with Shaw's orchestra. into the fifties. Come Lester Young with whom she first recorded with Wilson on January 25, 1937 in NYC ('He Ain't Got Rhythm' among four) and be her continuous collaborator for years to come. Count Basie swung by in 1937, they first recording together at a Savoy Ballroom radio broadcast on June 30 ('The You and Me That Used to Be', etc.). They would record numerously together until 'Stormy Weather' at Carnegie Hall on May 6, 1955. It was 1940 while performing at Kelly's Stable when she began wearing her trademark white gardenias. Having singed her hair with a curling iron, she was purchased a large white gardenia from a nearby nightclub by another performer, also a singer, and the damage rendered lovely. By the latter forties Holiday was commanding more than a thousand dollars week to play nightclubs. Good thing, as she was largely dependent on nightclub performances to make a living, earning royalties for nigh nothing until signing to Decca in 1944. Holiday also had a taste for heroin, which got her incarcerated in 1947 for several months at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia on a narcotics charge. The month of her release, March 1948, she played Carnegie Hall. After her first European tour in 1954, Holiday published her memoirs, 'Lady Sings the Blues', in 1956 (ghostwritten by William Duffy). To accompany the book she issued the LP, 'Lady Sings the Blues' the same year, also playing two more engagements at Carnegie Hall. In 1959 Holiday made her final studio recordings, released posthumously (1959) as 'Billie Holiday', retitled in 1964 to 'Last Recordings'. In May of 1959 Holiday was taken to the hospital with liver and heart disease, where she was arrested a second time for narcotics and her room placed under police guard until her death a couple weeks later on July 17. Albeit Holiday spent no small sum on drugs during her time, she died a damaged woman due less to chemicals than racial abuse by white folk, and financial swindling to the tune of a total cash worth of only $750.70 at the time of her death. Among Holiday's most memorable recordings were 'Strange Fruit' (1939), 'God Bless the Child' (1941) and 'Lady Sings the Blues' (1956). All tracks below for year 1959 are with bandleader Ray Ellis. More samples of Billie Holiday can be found under Teddy Wilson in Big Band Swing Jazz. Also see pianist, Jimmy Rowles, in Early Modern Jazz Piano.

Billie Holiday   1933

   Your Mother's Son in Law

      With Benny Goodman

   Riffin' the Scotch

       With Benny Goodman

Billie Holiday   1935

   I Wished On the Moon

       With Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson

   Miss Brown to You

        With Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson

   What a Little Moonlight Can Do

        With Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson

Billie Holiday   1936

   Billie's Blues

      With Bunny Berigan

   I Cried for You

   Pennies From Heaven


Billie Holiday   1937

   He's Funny That Way

   I'll Never Be the Same

Billie Holiday   1938

   I'll Be Seeing You

   You Go to My Head

Billie Holiday   1939

   Dream of Life

      Composition: Carmen McRae

   Strange Fruit

Billie Holiday   1941

   God Bless the Child

Billie Holiday   1942

   Gloomy Sunday

Billie Holiday   1944

   Billie's Blues

   Jammin' the Blues

      Filmed live

   Lover Man

   No More

Billie Holiday   1946

   The Blues Are Brewin'

   Good Morning Heartache

Billie Holiday   1948

   I loves You Porgy

Billie Holiday   1950

   Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do

Billie Holiday   1952

   I Can't Face The Music

   These Foolish Things



Billie Holiday   1954

   Lover Man

      With Count Basie

Billie Holiday   1956

   Lady Sings the Blues

   One For My Baby

Billie Holiday   1957

   Fine and Mellow

       With Lester Young

   I Didn't Know What Time It Was

Billie Holiday   1959

   All the Way

   Deed I Do

   I'll Never Smile Again

   It's Not For Me To Say

   Just One More Chance

   There'll Be Some Changes Made

   When It's Sleepy Time Down South

   Baby, Won't You Please Come Home

   You Took Advantage Of Me



Birth of Swing Jazz: Valaida Snow

Valaida Snow

Photo: John E. Reed

Source: Black Glamour

Born in 1904 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Valaida Snow was a multi-instrumentalist as a youth, gradually focusing on trumpet with which she often sang. Snow emphasized visiting the world from her early career onward, beginning a tour of Shanghai, Singapore, Calcutta and Jakarta in 1926 with Jack Carter's Serenaders. She made her debut recordings on trumpet in 1932 with the Washboard Rhythm Kings. Unfortunately there is confusion raising uncertainty as to her accompaniment during their October 5th recording date for Vocalion, so we list only 'Blue Drag', recorded in December. Snow's first recording as a vocalist was 'Maybe I'm to Blame' ion November 13, 1933, with Earl Hines for the Brunswick label. While touring Denmark in 1941 Snow was incarcerated by the Nazi government and detained until a prisoner exchange in May the next year. She had recorded for the Tono label there with an obscure group called Matadorerne in '40 and '41. Snow died in 1956 of brain hemorrhage in New York City, only 52 years of age.

Valaida Snow   1933

   Blue Drag

      Recorded December 1932

   Maybe I'm to Blame

      With Earl Hines

Valaida Snow   1935

   I Can't Dance I've Got Ants In My Pants


   Singing In the Rain

   Sing, You Sinners

Valaida Snow   1936

   I Want A Lot Of Love

   I Wish That I Were Twins

   Until the Real Thing Comes Along

Valaida Snow   1937

   The Mood That I'm In

Valaida Snow   1939

   My Heart Belongs to Daddy

      Original composition: Cole Porter


      With Duke Ellington

   Swing Low, Sweet Chariot


      Film: 'Pieges'

Valaida Snow   1940

   You're Driving Me Crazy

   St. Louis Blues

      With Winstrup Olesen

Valaida Snow   1946

   If You Only Knew

      Film With The Ali Baba Trio

   Patience and Fortitude

      Film With The Ali Baba Trio



Birth of Swing Jazz: Buddy Clark

Buddy Clark

Source: Vintage Bandstand

Born Samuel Goldberg in 1912 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, vocalist Buddy Clark began his music career singing for local radio. Tom Lord's discography has him issuing as early as 'Hands Across the Table' with Lud Gluskin from a session on October 26, 1934, in New York City. Clark's major break was also in 1934, joining Benny Goodman's band. His debut recordings with Goodman were on November 26, 'I'm a Hundred Percent for You' and 'Like a Bolt from the Blue'. Clark wasn't with Goodman long, their last session on April 4 of '35: 'I'm Living In A Great Big Way', 'Hooray for Love' and 'The Dixieland Band'.  Clark recorded with such as Dick McDonough and Johnny Hodges in the thirties. Among his greater successes (#6 on Billboard) was a duet with Doris Day in 1947, 'Love Somebody' backed by 'Confess'.      Clark died (1949) at the age of only 37 when the plane in which he was riding with five friends ran out of fuel and crashed on Beverley Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Buddy Clark   1934



Buddy Clark   1935

   The Magic of You

   Moon Over Miami

Buddy Clark   1936

   Midnight Blue

   She Shall Have Music

Buddy Clark   1938

   Change Partners

   Spring Is Here

   Thanks For The Memory

Buddy Clark   1941

   We Could Make Such Beautiful Music

Buddy Clark   1945

   What A Difference A Day Made

Buddy Clark   1946


Buddy Clark   1947

   How Are Things In Glocca Morra

   I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)

Buddy Clark   1948

   A Dreamer's Holiday


   My Darling, My Darling

      With Doris Day

   Peg O' My Heart

   South America, Take It Away

Buddy Clark   1949

   Alice Blue Gown

   With Dinah Shore

   Baby Its Cold Outside

   You're Breaking My Heart



Birth of Swing Jazz: Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Source: From the Vaults


Born in 1913 in New York City, vocalist Helen Ward first recorded on January 17, 1934 with the Ed Lloyd Orchestra for Melotone: 'This Little Piggy Went to Market'. She is found with Lloyd again on February 2 for 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams'. On November 20, 1934, she recorded for Columbia with the Harry Rosenthal outfit: 'You're the Top' and 'All Through the Night'. Stats Long had taken Benny Goodman's place on those, but Ward found herself in session with the Benny Goodman Orchestra six days later to record 'I'm a Hundred Percent for You'. Goodman's orchestra was Ward's main vehicle to fame. Ward hung with Goodman until 1937, their last of not a few sessions on April 29 during a radio broadcast from the Make Believe Ballroom in NYC: 'You Turned the Tables On Me'. She would also record with Goodman on July 22, 1946, in NYC during a 'Benny Goodman Show' (#4) radio broadcast: 'Linger in My Arms'. Later sessions with Goodman occurred on a number of occasions in the fifties. She next found herself in a couple of sessions with Gene Krupa before joining the Bob Crosby Orchestra, her first four sessions with him at 'Camel Caravan' radio broadcasts in NYC in 1939, such as 'I've Got the World on a String' and 'It's Funny to Everyone But Me'. Also principle to to Ward's career was Harry James. She had first recorded with James with the Teddy Wilson Orchestra, James as trumpet. She first recorded with James' own operation on May 20, 1941, in NYC yielding 'Daddy'. James and Ward stayed together until their last sessions for the CBS 'Chesterfield Time' radio broadcasts in Hollywood in spring of 1944. As a major jazz vocalist Ward graced many a big name band, among them those of Eddie Condon, Joe Sullivan, Hal McIntyre, Billy May and Red Norvo. She can be found on recordings with Wild Bill Davidson made in 1952 as well. After working with Peanuts Hucko in '57 and '58 Ward vanished altogether. She reemerged two decades later in 1979 to sing in nightclubs in NYC, including the Waldorf Astoria. In 1981 she issued an album titled 'The Helen Ward Song Book Vol. I'. The title indicates indicates more was to follow, but she disappeared again until her death in 1998 in Arlington, Virginia. Ward had also recorded as Vera Lane in August of '36 with Teddy Wilson: 'You Came to My Rescue' and 'Here’s Love in Your Eye'. That November she recorded as Harriett Kaye with Larry Kent & His Orchestra: 'One Never Knows, Does One?' and 'Who’s That Knocking at My Heart'. More Helen Ward to be found under Benny Goodman in Swing Jazz 1.

Helen Ward   1934

   Boulevard of Broken Dreams

      With Ed Loyd

Helen Ward   1935

   Blue Moon

      With Benny Goodman

   Dixieland Band

      With Benny Goodman

   Get Rhythm in Your Feet

      With Benny Goodman

   Night Wind

      With Benny Goodman

   You Turned the Tables On Me

      With Benny Goodman

Helen Ward   1938

   I'm Feeling High & Happy

      With Gene Krupa

Helen Ward   1939

   Day In Day Out

      With Bob Crosby

   I've Got the World on a String

      With Bob Crosby

   Oh! You Crazy Moon

      With Bob Crosby

Helen Ward   1944

   It's Been So Long

      With Harry James

   My Heart Isn't In It

      With Harry James

   Shoo Shoo Baby

      With Harry James

   Where Or When

      With Harry James


  Born in 1916 in Mechanicville, New York, singer Bob Eberly (Eberle) was elder brother to vocalist, Ray Eberle. At age 19 Eberly filled Bob Crosby's vacancy when the latter left the Dorsey Brothers in 1935. 'You're All I Need' and 'Chasing Shadows' were his first tracks with the Dorseys from a session on May 27. His last of three sessions with the Dorseys on September 11 begat 'I've Got A Feelin' You're Foolin' and 'You Are My Lucky Star', before Jimmy and Tommy split up, Eberly to continue with Jimmy. His initial session with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra was September 19 of 1935, eight days after his last with both Dorseys, yielding 'A Picture of Me Without You' and 'Me and Marie'. The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra was Eberly's main vessel to 1943, his last recordings with Jimmy thought to have been radio broadcasts that December yielding 'Perdido', 'I Got Rhythm' and 'One O'Clock Jump'. He put down another track with Jimmy in Hollywood on September 1946 for the film, 'The Fabulous Dorseys': 'Green Eyes'. That was with Helen O'Connell, they no strangers ever since her joining Jimmy's band in '39. O'Connell and Eberly would work together in the future with Ray Anthony's orchestra in 1953. More of Eberly will be found under Helen O'Connell. Eberly would appear with O'Connell on television in 1960 and perform with Woody Herman at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1968, but his latter career is obscure from Jimmy onward into the seventies until his death of heart attack in 1981. Almost all tracks below are with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.

Bob Eberly   1935

   Chasing Shadows

      With the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra

   I've Got A Feelin' You're Foolin'

      With the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra

Bob Eberly   1939

   It's Funny to Everyone But Me

Bob Eberly   1940

   Let There Be Love

Bob Eberly   1941

   In The Hush Of The Night

      With Helen O'Connell

   It Happened In Hawaii

      With Helen O'Connell


      With Helen O'Connell

   The Things I Love

Bob Eberly   1942

   A Sinner Kissed an Angel

   This Is Worth Fighting For

Bob Eberly   1944

   I Should Care

Bob Eberly   1956

   Just In Time

      Enoch Light Orchestra


Birth of Swing Jazz: Bob Eberly

Bob Eberly

Source: Memory Lane


Born in 1917 in Newport News, Virginia, vocalist Ella Fitzgerald made her first recording on June 12, 1935, upon getting hired by Chick Webb. That was 'Love and Kisses', smacking off to an enormously successful career. She was famous for scat singing, firmly solidified the places of Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington in musical history, and became known as the First Lady of Song. By twists and turns, when Fitzgerald's mother died of heart attack in 1932 she found herself without a guardian and was placed in an orphanage in the Bronx, then the New York Training School for Girls, a reformatory in Hudson, New York, from which she escaped. She began singing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem in 1934, the next year with Chick Webb at the Savoy. Upon Webb's early death in June of 1939 Fitzgerald became the nominal (in name only) head of his band, called Ella and her Famous Orchestra, until 1942. Her last recordings with Webb had been in May of '39, the month before his death. That was a broadcast from the Southland Cafe in Boston yielding 'A New Moon and an Old Serenade' among others. Her first recordings with her Famous Orchestra availed themselves per June of '39, 'Betcha Nickel' and 'Out of Nowhere' among others. Among the huge names with whom Fitzgerald performed were Louis Armstrong and Count Basie. Among her continuous collaborators for several years was alto saxophonist, Louis Jordan, with whom she first recorded 1937 while with Webb: 'Take Another Guess' and 'Time Marches On'. Jordan followed Fitzgerald into her own orchestra upon Webb's death and remained with her until his Tympany Five in 1950, they recording ''Tain't Nobody's Business If I do' and 'I'll Never Be Free' with that ensemble. Fitzgerald also frequently recorded with the vocal harmony group, the Ink Spots, their first such occasion in NYC on November 3, 1943, yielding 'Cow Cow Boogie'. Several occasions followed, including with her orchestra, into 1945, with another occasion to occur as late as December 1950: 'Little Small Town Girl' and 'I Still Feel the Same About You'. Fitzgerald also employed the Delta Rhythm Boys, they first recording with her orchestra on March 27, 1945, a couple takes each of 'It's Only a Paper Moon' and 'Cry You Out of My Heart'. That vocal group would be with her orchestra again on August 29 of '46 to record 'For Sentimental Reasons' and 'It's a pity to Say Goodnight'. Among the highlights of Fitzgerald's career were her frequent appearances with Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP), her first such occasion at Carnegie Hall on February 11, 1949, to issue 'I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm' among other unreleased titles. Fitzgerald recorded with JATP on some twenty occasions to as late as October 17, 1983, in Tokyo, to issue 'Flying Home' among others. Another of Fitzgerald's partners was was bebopper, Dizzy Gillespie. They first recorded together at Carnegie Hall on September 29, 1947, titles would much later get issued per the album, 'It Happened One Night'. Gillespie and Fitzgerald would record in the fifties, the seventies and as late as circa 1989 in Los Angeles for an album produced by Quincy Jones, 'Back on the Block'. In 1947 Fitzgerald married the great bassist, Ray Brown (second husband, divorced in 1953). They first recorded together on December 20, 1947, in NYC, three takes of 'How High the Moon' among a couple others. They attended numerous sessions together into 1958, again in the sixties, seventies and eighties. In 1956 Fitzgerald released 'Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook'. The next year she issued 'Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book'. In 1973 she and guitarist, Joe Pass, issued the first of four albums together: 'Take Love Easy'. Fitzgerald recorded her last album, 'All That Jazz', in 1989. She gave her last performance in 1991 at Carnegie Hall. Her last recording to issue was 'The Setting Sun' in 1992. Among the charities Fitzgerald supported were the American Heart Association, the City of Hope Medical Center and the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation established in 1993. Due to diabetes Fitzgerald lost both legs at the knee in 1993. She died in her wheelchair in 1996 in Beverly Hills, her last words reportedly, "I'm ready to go now." Socially, scat belting Fitzgerald was shy and withdrawn. Among her countless gems was a statement rather than a song: "I don't want to say the wrong thing, which I always do, but I think I do better when I sing." More Ella Fitzgerald to be found at Swing Jazz Big Bands under Chick Webb.

Ella Fitzgerald   1936

   Love and Kisses

   You'll Have to Swing It

      With Chick Webb

Ella Fitzgerald   1938

   A-Tisket A-Tasket

      With Chick Webb

Ella Fitzgerald   1939

   My Heart Belongs To Daddy

Ella Fitzgerald   1943

   Stormy Weather

Ella Fitzgerald   1945

   It's Only A Paper Moon

      With the Delta Rhythm Boys

Ella Fitzgerald   1947

   Oh Lady Be Good

Ella Fitzgerald   1949

   Flying Home

      Live at Newport Jazz Festival

Ella Fitzgerald   1954

   Pure Ella


Ella Fitzgerald   1956

   Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

   Too Darn Hot

   Night and Day

Ella Fitzgerald   1959

   Flying Home

      With the Lou Levy Trio

Ella Fitzgerald   1960

   How High The Moon

      Album: 'Ella In Berlin'

   Mack the Knife

      Album: 'Ella In Berlin'



      Album: 'Ella In Berlin'

Ella Fitzgerald   1963

   All the Things You Are

Ella Fitzgerald   1979

   Flying Home

      JATP concert in Montreux   With Count Basie


Birth of Swing Jazz: Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald

Source: park5611

Birth of Swing Jazz: Toto

Don't forget that monster Toto

Source: Follow the Piper

Born Frances Ethel Gumm in 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, actress Judy Garland is another transitional figure in the metamorphosis of swing to modern jazz. Garland began her recording career at age fourteen, releasing 'Stompin' at the Savoy' with 'Swing Mr. Charlie' flip side in 1936. Garland's parents owned a movie and vaudeville theater where she gave her first performance at age two, together with her two elder sisters, Dorothy and Mary Jane. The family moved to Lancaster, California in 1926 to run another theater. Her mother, Ethel, had intentions of making her daughters film stars when she enrolled them as the Gumm Sisters ("Jimmie," "Suzy" and "Baby") in dance school in 1928, where they joined the Meglin Kiddies dance troupe to appear in their first film, 'The Big Revue', in 1929. Having worked the vaudeville circuit for a few years with their mother as manager, the Gumm Sisters became the brief-existing Garland Sisters in 1934. Garland changed her name from Frances to Judy before the trio dismantled (Mary Jane getting married) in 1935. Garland then signed her first contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that year. In 1937 she began appearing in films with Mickey Rooney. In 1938 Garland was cast in 'The Wizard of Oz' (released 1939). A number of films later, Garland experienced a nervous breakdown in 1947 while filming 'The Pirate'. Though she completed the movie, she was suspended (and replaced) from three others in '48, '49 and '50 due largely to depression with a suicidal lean atop alcohol and pill abuse. In 1951 Garland traded Hollywood for Broadway, performing at the Palace Theatre and awarded a Special (honorary) Tony. Back in Hollywood in 1954, she filmed that year's remake of 'A Star Is Born', now for Warner Brothers. Garland began appearing in television specials for CBS  in 1955. In 1956 she became the highest paid Las Vegas entertainer at the time, appearing at the New Frontier Hotel for $55,000 per week. Her recorded appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1961 resulted in the gold double-record album, 'Judy at Carnegie Hall', which kept the No. 1 spot on the charts for 13 weeks. It was also 1961 when Garland began hosting her own television show, the first of three, called 'The Judy Garland Show'. 'Judy at Carnegie Hall', per above, won the Album of the Year Grammy Award in 1962. In 1964 she appeared with her daughter, Liza Minnelli, then eighteen years of age, at the London Palladium. Results weren't favorable, however, when Garland toured Australia that year: The show in Melbourne opened an hour late, resulting in a heckling audience that booed her offstage before completing her performance. In 1967 Garland was fired and replaced yet again for missing rehearsals, this time by 20th Century Fox, filming 'Valley of the Dolls'. As before, she headed for the Palace Theatre on Broadway. Garland gave her final concert performance in March of 1969 in Copenhagen. She was only 37 years of age when she died of an accidental overdose of barbiturates in June of 1969 in London.

Judy Garland  1936

   Stompin' At the Savoy

   Swing Mr. Charlie

Judy Garland  1939

   Wild About Harry

   Over the Rainbow

      Film: 'The Wizard of Oz'

Judy Garland  1942

   On the Sunny Side of the Street

Judy Garland  1944

   The Boy Next Door

      Film: 'Meet Me In St. Louis'

Judy Garland  1947

   I've Got You Under My Skin

Judy Garland  1958

   Day In Day Out

Judy Garland  1964



Birth of Swing Jazz: Judy Garland

Judy Garland

Source: The Cabaret Room

Birth of Swing Jazz: Lena Horne

Lena Horne

Source: Bio

Born in 1917in Brooklyn, actress Lena Horne first recorded in 1936 with Noble Sissle in NYC on March 11: 'That's What Love Did to Me' and 'I Take to You'. She had begun her career as a chorus girl at the Cotton Club in Harlem in 1933. In 1940 she switched from Sissle's band to Charlie Barnet's orchestra for several years. Her first issue with Barnet was in 1941: 'All I Desire'. She released her first album, 'Moanin' Low', in 1941, the year she began leading her own orchestras, Ned Freeman arranging and Lou Bring conducting that year. Horne appeared in her first movie, 'Panama Hattie', the next year, but would later come to prefer performing in nightclubs to Hollywood, headlining at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles and the Waldorf-Astoria in New York in the fifties. Horne stayed with Barnet into 1946, the year she signed on with Benny Goodman, her first recordings with his orchestra about January of '46 for a couple of AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) broadcasts (166 and 168) from Hollywood: 'More and More' et al. Horne began making television appearances in the fifties. In 1957 she released the album, 'Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria'. In May 1981 Horne began starring in the theatre production, 'Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music'. After 333 performances on Broadway the show then toured the States, Canada and London, finishing in Stockholm in September 1984. Horne gave her final performances in 1994 at Carnegie Hall and the Supper Club in New York City. (The 1995 album, 'An Evening with Lena Horne', was recorded live at the Supper Club.) Horne's last recordings are thought to have been with English conductor, Simon Rattle on the LP, 'Classic Ellington', in 2000. In addition to acting and music, Horne was a great civil rights activist. (During World War II she refused to perform for segregated audiences. The military, however, was not yet integrated: there were shows for white soldiers, then shows for black soldiers, who sat behind German POWs. Upon such the arrangement Horne left the stage and took a spot with only black troops in front and the POWs to her back.) Horne died of heart failure in NYC in May 2010.

Lena Horne   1936

   I Take to You/Rhythm Of The Broadway Moon

      With Noble Sissle

Lena Horne   1941

   Moanin' Low

   Stormy Weather

   Where Or When

Lena Horne   1943

   Stormy Weather

      Film: 'Stormy Weather'

Lena Horne   1944

   Unlucky Woman

      Film with Albert Ammons & Pete Johnson

Lena Horne   1952

   What Is This Thing Called Love

      With the Lou Bring Orchestra

Lena Horne   1957

   Come Runnin'

      Album: 'Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria'

   Honeysuckle Rose

      Album: 'Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria'

   I Love to Love

      Album: 'Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria'

Lena Horne   1959

   I Wants to Stay Here

      Album: 'Porgy and Bess'

Lena Horne   1994

   The Lady Is a Tramp

      Live at the Supper Club

   Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me

      Live at the Supper Club



Birth of Swing Jazz: The Andrew Sisters

The Andrew Sisters

Source: Pin up Spirit


The Andrew Sisters first recorded in 1937 with Leon Belasco's orchestra. They were not well received. But then they teamed with trumpeter and band leader Vic Schoen, thereafter to enjoy a lucrative relationship. Their second recording 'Bei Mir Bist Du Schon' ('To Me You Are Beautiful'), sometimes titled 'Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen', shot them toward a success in female harmony which only the Supremes, many years later, would match. Consisting of Maxine Angelyn (soprano), Patricia Marie (soprano) and LaVerne Sophia (contralto), the Andrew Sisters were also known for embroidering their music with a number of international flavors from calypso to Russian. Cool isn't something that is excelled. It simply is. Like others on this page, the Andrew Sisters were simply as cool as cool comes, each a miracle, really. Other than Vic Schoen, their arranger, the Andrew Sisters' most important musical association was Bing Crosby (also the only vocalist they didn't outsell). They released their first of 47 issues with Crosby in 1939: 'Ciribiribin' and 'Yodelin' Jive'. Selling more than 75 million records during their career, the Andrew Sisters appeared in their first of seventeen films, 'Argentine Nights', in 1940. They were enthusiastic entertainers of Allied troops in the European theater during World War II, also helping to raise funds via war bonds (: 'Any Bonds Today?' below). They also recorded Victory discs (V-discs, available only to Allied military personnel, samples below) and roused endeavor via multiple radio programs. Which is to say, the Andrew Sisters were no small generator of triumph and contribution to Allied victory. They dismantled in 1951, then reunited in 1956. The original trio last performed together in September 1966 on the 'Dean Martin Show'. The eldest sister, LaVerne, died in 1967 of cancer. Maxine became dean of Tahoe Paradise College the next year as Patricia pursued a solo career. The pair sporadically performed as a duo on various occasions. In 1979 Maxine revived her career, pursuing cabaret song for the next fifteen years (releasing the LP, 'Maxene: An Andrews Sister', in 1985). She died of heart attack in NYC in 1995. Patricia died in 2013 in North Ridge, California. All in all, though we like St. Pauli Girls too, when there's a blitzkrieg or kamikaze coming your direction, just circle your wagons with an Andrews girl.

Andrew Sisters  1937

   Bei Mir Bist Du Schon

Andrew Sisters  1938

   Joseph Joseph

Andrew Sisters  1939


      With Bing Crosby

   Yodelin' Jive

      With Bing Crosby

Andrew Sisters  1940

   Say Si Si

   The Woodpecker Song

Andrew Sisters  1941

   Any Bonds Today?

   Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

   Bounce Me Brother

Andrew Sisters  1943

   Jingle Bells

      With Bing Crosby

Andrew Sisters  1943

   Pistol Packin' Mama

      With Bing Crosby

   There'll Be a Hot Time In the Town of Berlin

      With Bing Crosby

Andrew Sisters  1944

   Don't Fence Me In

      With Bing Crosby

   V-Disc 194

      With Mitchell Ayres

Andrew Sisters  1945

   Rum and Coca Cola

   V-Disc 452

      With the Mills Brothers

   V-Disc 526

      With the Mills Brothers

Andrew Sisters  1946

   South America, Take It Away!

      With Bing Crosby

   V-Disc 570

Andrew Sisters  1947


      With Sammy Kaye

Andrew Sisters  1950


      With Bing Crosby

Andrew Sisters  1951

   Yodeling Ghost

      With Bing Crosby


Birth of Swing Jazz: Vic Schoen

Vic Schoen

Source: Kevin Kaska


Birth of Swing Jazz: The Modernaires

The Modernaires

Photo: CBS

Source: Wikipedia

The Modernaires were formed in 1935 as a trio called Don Juan Two and Three. Consisting of Bill Conway, Hal Dickinson and Chuck Goldstein, the trio first performed with Ted Fio Rito in Buffalo at the Glen Falls Casino. They next joined the Ozzie Nelson Band as the Three Wizards of Ozzie. The trio became a quartet upon adding Ralph Brewster to work with the Fred Waring Orchestra, becoming the Modernaires in 1937. The quartet's first recordings were in 1937, thought to be with Paul Whiteman. The Modernaires began working with Glenn Miller in 1940. Paula Kelly, hired by Miller in 1941, became a member of the group when Miller disbanded to join the Army in 1942. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. Cuts below are alphabetical by year. Other vocal groups about their period are indexed in Doo Wop.

The Modernaires  1937

   It's Swell of You

      With the George Hall Orchestra

   There's A Lull In My Life

       With the George Hall Orchestra

The Modernaires  1938

   Aunt Hagar's Blues

      With Paul Whiteman

   Jeepers Creepers

      With Paul Whiteman

   Sing A Song Of Sixpence

      With Paul Whiteman

The Modernaires  1939

   Darn That Dream

      With Paul Whiteman

   Now and Then

      With Paul Whiteman

The Modernaires  1941

   Peek-A-Boo to You

      With Glenn Miller

   So You're the One

      With Glenn Miller

The Modernaires  1942

   Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree

      With Glenn Miller

   People Like You And Me

      With Glenn Miller

   I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo

      With Glenn Miller

   Serenade In Blue

      With Glenn Miller

   I Know Why

      With Tex Beneke

The Modernaires  1946

   To Each His Own

      With Mannie Klein

The Modernaires  1953


      With Fran Scott

The Modernaires  1965

   A Taste Of Honey

      With Herb Alpert

   Chattanooga Choo Choo

      With Tex Beneke



Birth of Swing Jazz: Maxine Sullivan

Maxine Sullivan

Source: Black Kudos

Born in 1911 in Homestead, Pennsylvania, the year was 1937 when Maxine Sullivan released her first recordings upon joining the orchestra of pianist, Claude Thornhill. Her first session with Thornhill netted 'Whispers in the Darl', 'Harbor Lights', Stop, You're Breaking My Heart' and 'Gone with the Wind'. Her next session with Thornhill backing her wrought her first name releases, a swing adaptation of the Scottish folk song, 'Loch Lomond' among them. Clarinetist, Buster Bailey, was in on those, as well as bassist, John Kirby. Kirby and Sullivan were in numerous sessions together with Thornhill, and she would sing for Kirby when he put together his own orchestra in 1940, their first releases in that capacity on May 1: 'St. Louis Blues' and two takes of 'The Hour of Parting'. Sullivan and Kirby recorded frequently together into 1941, reuniting in the fifties and seventies. Sullivan first recorded with Benny Carter in New York City on April1, 1941, to issue 'Midnight' and 'What a Difference a Day Made'. Later in 1946 they issued 'I'm the Caring Kind' and 'Looking for a Boy' together. On July 3, 1944, Sullivan recorded with Jimmie Lunceford during a radio broadcast from Hollywood: 'Molly Malone' and 'Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet'. She first recorded with Teddy Wilson on December 18, 1944, yielding 'This Heart of Mine' and 'Every Time We Say Goodbye'. Sullivan laid tracks with Wilson into 1945, a session in January that year yielding another rendition of 'This Heart of Mine'. Notable during her career was her 1956 release of the LP, 'A Tribute to Andy Razaf'. Sullivan retired from the music business in 1958 to raise her children while working as a nurse. She reappeared again in 1966, performing at jazz festivals and recording well into the eighties. Sullivan died in 1987 in New York City. She was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1998.

Claude Thornhill   1937

  Gone with the Wind

      Thought Sullivan's 4th recording issued

   I'm Coming, Virginia

   Loch Lomond

Maxine Sullivan  1938

   Night and Day

Maxine Sullivan  1942

   When Your Lover Has Gone

Maxine Sullivan  1956


      Album: 'A Tribute to Andy Razaf'

Maxine Sullivan  1958

   Ace In the Hole

      Live on film

Maxine Sullivan  1959


        'Stars For Defense' radio broadcast

Maxine Sullivan  1985

   A Hundred Years From Today

        Live concert performance

   Just One Of Those Things

        Live concert performance



Birth of Swing Jazz: Martha Tilton

Martha Tilton

Source: From the Vaults

Born in 1915 in Corpus Christi, Texas, Martha Tilton sang on radio as teenager in Los Angeles. Getting booked by more radio stations yet was fatal to academics, as to be such a popular singer encouraged her to quit high school in the 11th grade to join Hal Grayson's band. It is believed she first recorded at age 22 with the Meyer Alexander Chorus (below in alphabetical order for the year 1937), before receiving a major boost to her career that same year upon joining the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. She also appeared in her first film (uncredited) in 1937: 'Topper', in which she was cast as a lounge singer. But what made 1937 perhaps the most significant in her life was joining the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Tilton's initial titles with Goodman were recorded from a radio broadcast of 'Benny Goodman's Swing School' on August 3 in Los Angeles, there five sessions of that program to the 31st. Tilton played Carnegie Hall with Goodman the following year. By the time she left Goodman in late 1939 ('A Home in the Clouds' among their last) she was a major star. She recorded frequently with Goodman again in the latter fifties, as well as 1978 to appear on Goodman's album, 'Live at Carnegie Hall 40th Anniversary Concert'. Tilton maintained her status as a headliner for a couple decades running. She owns the distinction of being the first musician to record for Capitol records in April of 1942 upon its founding by Johnny Mercer. The song was 'Moon Dreams'. Tilton's last film appearance was in 1975, 'Queen of the Stardust Ballroom', in which she was cast as a vocalist, alike her first film role, but this time credited. She also recorded with Artie Shaw (1940) and Les Brown (1952) Tilton passed away in Los Angeles in 2006.

Martha Tilton   1937

   Blossoms On Broadway

      Benny Goodman Orchestra

       Album: 'The Complete 1937 Madhattan Room Broadcasts'

   The Lady Is a Tramp

      Benny Goodman Orchestra

       Album: 'The Complete 1937 Madhattan Room Broadcasts'

   In The Still Of The Night

      Benny Goodman Orchestra

       Album: 'The Complete 1937 Madhattan Room Broadcasts'

   Mama, That Moon Is Here Again

      Benny Goodman Orchestra

       Album: 'The Complete 1937 Madhattan Room Broadcasts'

   Mother Goose Marches on Swing

      Meyer Alexander Chorus

      Camel Caravan Radio Program

   Sweet Someone

   Thanks For the Memory

   You Took the Words Right Out of My Heart

      Benny Goodman Orchestra

       Album: 'The Complete 1937 Madhattan Room Broadcasts'

Martha Tilton   1938

   Bei Mir Bist Du Schön

      Benny Goodman Orchestra

      Live at Carnegie Hall

Martha Tilton   1939

   Cuckoo In The Clock

      Benny Goodman Orchestra

      Camel Caravan Radio Program

   Shut Eye

      Benny Goodman Orchestra

Martha Tilton   1940

   Who's Yehouti

      Film: 'Varsity Vanities'

Martha Tilton   1941

   A Little Jive Is Good For You

      Film   With Ben Pollack

   Love Turns Winter to Spring

      Film   With Bobby Sherwood

   Loch Lomond

      Film   With Ben Pollack

Martha Tilton   1942

   Moon Dreams

     First recording by Capitol Records

Martha Tilton   1947

   That's My Desire

Martha Tilton   1953

   It's Only a Paper Moon

Martha Tilton   1956

   The Angels Sing

      With Benny Goodman   Live performance

Martha Tilton   1963

   I'll Remember April

      Television performance

Martha Tilton   1975

   Queen Of The Stardust Ballroom




Born in 1917 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, singer Helen Forrest first recorded in 1938 with Artie Shaw: 'You're a Sweet Little Headache' and 'I Have Eyes'. After that was confirmed she moved on to Benny Goodman, though not until after her last of numerous sessions with Shaw, that on November 11, 1939, for an NBC radio broadcast from the Cafe Rouge at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York yielding 'Moonray'. Her initial session with Goodman followed in December: 'Does Your Heart Beat for Me?'. Forrest swung with Goodman well into '41 before joining Harry James' operation the same year, her debut recordings with James a radio broadcast from the Hotel Sherman in Chicago on August 10, yielding 'Perfidia' among others. Forrest recorded with James extensively as late as the seventies. Forrest had first left James in 1943 to pursue a solo career. (Though married thrice it was James, who was an affair, whom she later reminisced she most loved, he also her favorite band leader for whom to work.) She secured a Decca recording contract, also appearing on CBS radio from 1944 to '47 with Dick Haymes. Forrest led a highly active career, recording more than 500 songs. Though she issued her last album in 1983, 'Now and Forever', she performed into the early nineties until forced to retire by rheumatoid arthritis. She died of heart failure in July of 1999 in Los Angeles. All tracks for 1983 below are from the LP, 'Now and Forever'.

Helen Forrest   1938

   They Say

        With Artie Shaw

   A Room With a View

       With Artie Shaw

   Deep Purple

      With Artie Shaw

   You're a Sweet Little Headache

      With Artie Shaw   78 RPM

   You're a Sweet Little Headache

      With Artie Shaw   Remastered

Helen Forrest   1939

   All the Things You Are

       With Artie Shaw

   Any Old Time

       With Artie Shaw

Helen Forrest   1940

   More Than You Know

       With Benny Goodman

Helen Forrest   1942

   I Don't Want to Walk Without You

       With Harry James

Helen Forrest   1983

   But Not For Me

   I Cried For You

   I Don't Want to Walk Without You

   I've Heard That Song Before

   You'll Never Know


Birth of Swing Jazz: Helen Forrest

Helen Forrest

Source: Jazz Wax


Born in 1921 in Battle Creek, Michigan, actress Betty Hutton was fifteen when she left Michigan for New York City with $200 and designs on a career in show business. She had begun singing at age three with her mother (a bootlegger) and sister, Marion (then five), in their family's speakeasy. She made her film debut, 'Queens of the Air' (a Vitaphone short), in 1938. The next year she made her recording debut with the Vincent Lopez Orchestra: 'Old Man Mose', 'Igloo' and 'The Jitterbug'. Hutton's films were made largely for Paramount Pictures, beginning in 1942 ('The Fleet's In'). Upon leaving Paramount in 1952 (after nineteen films) Hutton began working radio, Las Vegas,  television and touring nightclubs. She made her last film, 'Spring Reunion', in 1957. Things began falling apart for Hutton in 1967, declaring bankruptcy that year with debts of $150,000. Alcohol, pills, a suicide attempt and nervous breakdown followed, she also losing her singing voice in 1970. Becoming Catholic, she began working as a cook and housekeeper at St. Anthony's rectory in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1974. After a stay of several years Hutton later earned an MA from Salve Regina University in Rhode Island in 1988. (Her sister, Marion, had also earned a Master's in psychology, though a couple decades earlier.) She had given her last performance in 1983 on 'Jukebox Saturday Night', aired by PBS. Also in the eighties Hutton worked as a hostess for a sports center in Connecticut and taught acting at Emerson College in Boston. In 1999 Hutton left New England for Palm Springs, where she died in 2007. More Betty Hutton under Marion Hutton below.

Betty Hutton  1938

   The Dipsy Doodle

      Film: 'Queens Of the Air'

Betty Hutton  1939


   The Jitterbug

   Old Man Mose

      Film: 'Vincent Lopez Orchestra'

Betty Hutton  1943

   Murder, He Says


Betty Hutton  1944

   His Rocking Horse Ran Away

      Film: 'And the Angels Sing'

Betty Hutton  1945

   It Had To Be You

      Film: 'Incendiary Blonde'

   Row, Row, Row

      Film: 'Incendiary Blonde'

   I Wish I Didn't Love You So

      Film: 'The Perils of Pauline'

Betty Hutton  1946

   Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief

      Film: 'The Wizard of Oz'

   What Did You Put In That Kiss

      Released 1950

Betty Hutton  1949

   That's Loyalty

      Film: 'Red, Hot and Blue'

   Where Are You

      Film: 'Red, Hot and Blue'

Betty Hutton  1950

   I'm Just a Square

      Film: 'Annie Get Your Gun'

   Orange Colored Sky

   Tunnel Of Love

      Film: 'Let's Dance'    With Fred Astaire

Betty Hutton  1951

   It's Oh So Quiet

Betty Hutton  1952

   The Last Straw

      With Perry Como

Betty Hutton  1960

   Basin Street Blues

      With sister Marion Hutton   'The Betty Hutton Show'

   Rock And Roll Shoes

      With sister Marion Hutton   'The Betty Hutton Show'


Birth of Swing Jazz: Betty Hutton

Betty Hutton   1952

Source: Wikipedia

  Born in 1919 in Battle Creek, Michigan, Marion Hutton, elder sister of Betty Hutton by two years, began performing at age five with her mother and sister in their family's speakeasy. Like her sister, Betty, Marion began her professional singing career with Vincent Lopez. Unlike her sister, if she recorded with Lopez there is no record of it. Discovered by Glenn Miller in 1938. Marion is thought to have first recorded with him, remaining with Miller until 1942 when he disbanded to join the military. Though Marion wasn't the actress that her sister was she was considerably the greater recording star. It's thought she first appeared in film with Glenn Miller in 1942 in 'Orchestra Wives'. Her last film role was in 1949 with the Marx Brothers in 'Love Happy'. Hutton didn't pursue an acting or singing career with the intent that her sister, Betty, did, preferring to live as a mother and wife (married thrice, her last husband, Vic Schoen, from 1954 until her death in 1987). Like her sister, Betty, Marion experienced alcohol and pill addictions. Also like her sister, Marion earned a Master's Degree in psychology (though a couple decades earlier in the sixties), then worked at a hospital. In 1981 Hutton moved to Kirkland, Washington, with her husband, Schoen, to found Residence XII, an addiction center. She died there of cancer six years later. All tracks through 1942 below are with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. (More of Miller in Swing Jazz 1.)

Marion Hutton  1939

   Ding Dong the Wicked Witch Is Dead

   Jim Jam Jump/FDR Jones/Hold Tight

   I Want a Hat With Cherries

Marion Hutton  1940

   The Rhumba Jumps

      With Tex Beneke

Marion Hutton  1941

   Happy In Love

      With Tex Beneke

   Dear Arabella

      With Tex Beneke

Marion Hutton  1942

   Chattanooga Choo-Choo/People Like You And Me

      With Tex Beneke   Film: 'Orchestra Wives'

Marion Hutton  1955

   Heart Throb

      With sister Betty Hutton

   Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)

      With sister Betty Hutton

Marion Hutton  1960

   Girls Were Made To Take Care Of Boys

      'The Betty Hutton Show'


Birth of Swing Jazz: Marion Hutton

Marion Hutton

Photo: Murray Korman

Source: 42nd Street

Birth of Swing Jazz: Jo Stafford

Jo Stafford

Source: Oz Hitzory

In 1939 Tommy Dorsey hired a vocal group called the Pied Pipers, of which Jo Stafford was a lead singer. Born in 1917 in Coalinga, California, though Stafford rose to fame with the Pied Pipers her debut recordings had been with Frank Trumbauer in Los Angeles on February 11, 1938, 'It's Wonderful' the first of several in that session. The original Pipers recorded 'Sugar Foot Stomp'/'Polly Wolly Doodle All the Day' (Victor 26320) and 'In a Little Spanish Town'/'What Is This Thing Called Love' (Victor 26364) in 1938. Stafford first recorded as one of the Pied Pipers with Dorsey on February 1, 1940, with Frank Sinatra's first appearance as a Piper: 'After I Say I'm Sorry' and 'Sweet Potato Piper'. Their next session was on February 21, 1940 for a radio broadcast from the Meadowbrook in Cedar Grove, New Jersey: 'I Thought About You'. Though Sinatra sang most the vocals during that session Stafford also appeared solo on 'Darn That Dream'. The Pipers also recorded 'Piggy Wiggy Woo' b/w 'Crazy Rhythm' in 1940 (Varsity 8362). Other original Pipers had John Huddleston, Hal Hopper, Chuck Lowry, Bud Hervey, George Tait, Woody Newbury and Dick Whittinghill. Among other members over the years were Connie Haines, Jane Hutton and Johnny Mercer.) Stafford began to pursue her solo career in 1944. In 1945 she served a residency at the La Martinique in NYC. Shortly afterward she acquired the name "G.I. Jo" during her work with the USO. In California in 1946, Stafford hosted the 'Chesterfield Supper Club' radio show until 1949. Stafford created the first of her comical personas, "Cinderella G. Stump", in 1947 with the release of 'Temptation' with Red Ingle. Recording it as a joke (a spoof of the currently popular rendition by Perry Como), she waved royalties. Her second issue with Ingle the next year was 'The Prisoner of Love's Song'. In 1948 she began issuing a number of duets with Gordon MacRae. In 1950 she hosted Radio Luxembourg (without pay), 'Club Fifteen' (for CBS) and Voice of America (which main mission was the undermining of communism). She began releasing duets with Frankie Laine in 1951. Stafford married arranger and band director, Paul Weston, in 1952, who would remain her most important collaborator throughout the rest of her career (with whose band she sings on a major portion of tracks below). She began appearing on television in 1954 on her own program, 'The Jo Stafford Show'. In 1957 she and Weston, released the album, 'The Piano Artistry of Jonathan Edwards', on which Stafford assumed the comical persona of Darlene Edwards, a vocalist who couldn't sing accompanied by a pianist who couldn't play piano. Several more Edwards albums were issued until their last in 1982: 'Darlene Remembers Duke, Jonathan Plays Fats'. With the exception of the Edwards albums and a second recording of 'Whispering Hope' with her daughter in 1978, Stafford retired from the music industry in 1975. She performed again in 1990 at an event in honor of Frank Sinatra. But her greater interest was in acquiring the rights to her earlier recordings for Columbia via lawsuit, then releasing such on the Corinthian label, founded by Weston in the seventies. Weston having died in 1996, in 2006 Stafford donated his and her library (arrangements, recordings, etc.) to the University of Arizona. She herself passed away of heart failure in 2008. More Pied Pipers under Frank Sinatra above.

Jo Stafford   1938

   In a Little Spanish Town

       Pied Pipers

   What Is This Thing Called Love?

       Pied Pipers

Jo Stafford   1940

   Piggy Wiggy Woo

       Pied Pipers


       Pied Pipers

Jo Stafford   1941

   Nine Old Men

       Pied Pipers

Jo Stafford   1942

   Manhattan Serenade

       Pied Pipers

   There Are Such Things

       Pied Pipers

Jo Stafford   1944

   I'll Be Seeing You

   I Love You

      Original composition: Cole Porter

   Long Ago

   On the Sunny Side of the Street

       Pied Pipers

Jo Stafford   1945

   A Friend of Yours

Jo Stafford   1947

   The Gentleman Is A Dope


      As Cinderella G. Stump with Red Ingle

Jo Stafford   1949

   If I Ever Love Again

   Whispering Hope

      Duet with Gordon MacRae

Jo Stafford   1951

   Shrimp Boats

Jo Stafford   1952

   Something To Remember You By

Jo Stafford   1953

   Adi Adios Amigo

   You Belong to Me

Jo Stafford   1956

   But Not For Me

      With the Art Van Damme Quintet

   The Nearness Of You

Jo Stafford   1957


      As Darlene Edwards with Jonathan Edwards

   Cocktails For Two

      As Darlene Edwards with Jonathan Edwards

   I Cover The Waterfront

   It's Magic

      As Darlene Edwards with Jonathan Edwards

Jo Stafford   1958

   Happiness Is Just A Thing Called Joe

   I Should Care

Jo Stafford   1963

   I'll Never Smile Again



Born Rosetta Nubin in 1915 in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, guitarist and gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe first recorded for Decca with Lucky Millinder in 1938. Tharpe had begun playing guitar at age four and was performing with her mother at age six in a traveling gospel troupe. In 1934 she married a preacher named Thomas Thorpe. Though they separated in 1938 she retained his last name with a variation. Tharpe split from Thorpe to NYC with her mother the same year, thence to record with Millinder. Among her first tracks were 'Rock Me', 'That's All', 'My Man and I' and 'The Lonesome Road'. It was also 1938 that Tharpe began appearing with Cab Calloway at the Cotton Club in Harlem. Tharpe was fundamentally a blues and gospel singer born to the swing era, and she always preferred performing gospel to secular music. Among the better known gospel groups with which she worked were the Jordanaires and the Dixie Hummingbirds. After World War II, during which she recorded V-discs (distributed only to Allied troops), she teamed with gospel and R&B singer Marie Knight. The duet was so popular that when Tharpe staged a concert on her wedding day in 1951 (her manager and third husband, Russell Morrison) more than 25,000 people attended. In 1964 Tharpe toured Europe with the Blues and Gospel Caravan. In 1970 Tharpe suffered a stroke and stopped performing due to a leg amputation necessitated by diabetes. She died in Philadelphia in 1973 after a second stroke. Earlier recordings by Tharpe can be found at Blues 3 and Rock and Roll 1.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe  1941

   Four Or Five Times

      With Lucky Millinder

   Lonesome Road

      Film with Lucky Millinder

Sister Rosetta Tharpe  1964

   Didn't It Rain



Birth of Swing Jazz: Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Source: Roq n Rol


Birth of Swing Jazz: Kitty Kallen

Kitty Kallen

Source: Discogs

Born Katherine Kalinsky in 1922 in Philadelphia, PA, Kitty Kallen had her own radio show in Philadelphia before she was a teenager (WCAU). She sang with the Jan Savitt Orchestra at age fourteen, the Artie Shaw Orchestra at age sixteen, and first recorded at age 17 with the Jack Teagarden Orchestra. Kallen's first releases with Teagarden were 'I'm Taking My Time With You' /and 'I Wanna Hat With Cherries' in 1939. In 1943 she filled Helen O'Connell's vacancy in the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra when the latter resigned to attend to a new marriage. Upon several years of big band swing Kallen steered toward popular upon pursuit of a solo career in the fifties. Kallen's last record release was in 1964, the bossa nova album, 'Quiet Nights' with the Manny Albam Ochestra. Jim Hall (guitar), Richard Davis (bass) and  Mel Lewis (drums) were featured on that.

Kitty Kallen  1939

   I'm Taking My Time With You

     Jack Teagarden Orchestra

   I Wanna Hat With Cherries

     Jack Teagarden Orchestra

Kitty Kallen  1943

   Besame Mucho

      Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra   With Bob Eberly

   Star Eyes

      Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra   With Bob Eberly

   They're Either Too Young Or Too Old

      Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra   With Bob Eberly

Kitty Kallen  1944

   When They Ask About You

      Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra

Kitty Kallen  1945

   It's Been A Long, Long, Time

      Harry James Orchestra

   I Wonder of You

      Harry James Orchestra

Kitty Kallen  1946

   My Heart Belongs To Daddy

      Artie Shaw Orchestra

Kitty Kallen  1953

   Are You Looking for a Sweetheart?

Kitty Kallen  1954

   In The Chapel In The Moonlight

      Jack Pleis Orchestra

   Little Things Mean a Lot

Kitty Kallen  1955

   Sweet Kentucky Rose

Kitty Kallen  1956

   Autumn Leaves

Kitty Kallen  1957

   But Beautiful

   Only Forever

Kitty Kallen  1959

   Got A Date With An Angel

   If I Give My Heart to You

Kitty Kallen  1960

   Because You're Mine

   That Old Feeling

Kitty Kallen  1961

   I'll Never Stand in Your Way

   A Poor Man's Roses

   Raining In My Heart

   Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)

      Original composition: Johnny Hodges

Kitty Kallen  1962

   I'll Walk Alone

   My Coloring Book

Kitty Kallen  1963

   Here's to Us

Kitty Kallen  1964

   Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars

      Album: 'Quiet Nights'


  Born in Lima, Ohio, in 1920, Helen O'Connell was nineteen when she joined the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra in 1939, with which she stayed until marriage in 1943, resuming her career in 1951 upon divorce. From 1960 to 1962 O'Connell hosted the 'Here's Hollywood' television show. From 1972 to 1980 she hosted the Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants with Bob Barker. Most of the tracks below are O'Connell with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. Her first title with that operation was 'Romance Runs in the Family', recorded on February 10, 1931. O'Connel stuck with Dorsey well into the forties and would record with Dorsey again in 1960 with her longtime partner, vocalist, Bob Eberly, for the film, 'The Fabulous Dorseys'. She can also be found under Bob Eberly higher on this page. O'Connell also worked with Tommy Dorsey in the fifties. In addition to Eberly, O'Connell also sang with Bing Crosby, Johnny Mercer and Dean Martin. Married four times, O'Connell died of hepatitis C in 1993 in San Diego.

Helen O'Connell  1939

   All of Me

Helen O'Connell  1941


      With Bob Eberly

   Embraceable You

   Time Was

      With Bob Eberly

   When The Sun Comes Out

Helen O'Connell  1942

   If You Build A Better Mousetrap

      Film: 'The Fleet's In'   With Bob Eberly


      Film: 'The Fleet's In'   With Bob Eberly

Helen O'Connell  1943

   Never A Day Goes By

Helen O'Connell  1953

   Green Eyes

      With Bob Eberly

Helen O'Connell  1963

   Till There Was You


Birth of Swing Jazz: Helen O'Connell

Helen O'Connell

Source: Wikipedia

Birth of Swing Jazz: Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

Source: The Red List


Born in 1915, Frank Sinatra put his birthplace, Hoboken, New Jersey, on the map. Jersey City, NJ, could later boast his daughter, vocalist, Nancy Sinatra, and crooning son, Frank Sinatra Jr. Sinatra began recording in 1939 with Harry James with 'Wishing' and 'Star Dust' during a CBS radio broadcast from the Roseland Room in NYC. Sinatra began working with Tommy Dorsey in 1940. His first recordings with Dorsey were also his first with the Pied Pipers (see Jo Stafford), those on February 1 in Chicago: 'After I Say I'm Sorry' and 'Sweet Potato Piper'. He also sang solos on 'The Sky Fell Down' and 'Too Romantic'. The Pied Pipers accompanied Dorsey consistently until 1943, on occasion afterward to as late as 1945. Also a major movie star, Sinatra's first film is thought to be in 1940: 'Las Vegas Nights'. Sinatra's major home base would become Las Vegas, he first performing there at the Desert Inn in 1951. Sinatra founded Reprise Records in 1960, the same year his 1959 album, 'Come Dance with Me!', won the second Album of the Year Grammy Award. In addition to the Pied Pipers, Sinatra was later a member of the famous Rat Pack, together with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior. The original Rat Pack was but a circle of friends (such as Errol Flynn, Nat King Cole, Mickey Rooney and Cesar Romero) who gravitated around Humphrey Bogart in the fifties, to which his wife, Lauren Bacall, oft played hostess. Others of Sinatra's sixties gang included Joey Bishop, Corbett Monica, Norman Fell and Peter Lawford. Female members were called Rat Pack Mascots, such as Marilyn Monroe, Angie Dickinson, Juliet Prowse and Shirley MacLaine. What that circle of friends had to do with entertainment was in that when one member was performing, largely in Las Vegas, others showed up to generate electricity, there countless examples of such between Sinatra and Martin. Variations of the Rat Pack also starred in films together. In 1966 Sinatra issued his first live album, 'Sinatra at the Sands', the same year his 1965 album, 'September of My Years', brought his second Album of the Year Grammy Award. The next year the Sands denied Sinatra credit, after which he steered a golf cart through one of its plate glass windows, then lost caps from a couple of his teeth upon the manager landing a fist. That same year he was awarded a third Album of the Year Grammy Award for 'A Man and His Music', a double-disc issued in 1965. Spiritually (ahem), Sinatra was more a pantheist than believer in a personal God. Politically, he was a believer in the New Deal and a friend of John Kennedy. After decades of buzz concerning his Mafia ties such remain alleged. Starting in the forties, he became subject to 2,403 pages worth of FBI investigation, that dossier released in 1998. (Sinatra's response in 1950 was an offer to become an FBI informant, which the Bureau declined.) Though no Communist affiliations surfaced, Sinatra apparently enjoyed the companionship of prostitutes. (Another musician who fell in with the mafia by accident much later was Tommy James of the Shondells per mobster, Morris Levy who ran Roulette Records.) Though a Democrat in his earlier years, campaigning for Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson, and John Kennedy, Sinatra began supporting Ronald Reagan in 1970, then Nixon in '72, and became a friend to Spiro Agnew. The last song Sinatra performed live for an audience was 'The Best Is Yet to Come' in February of 1995, for an audience of 1200 guests on the closing night of the Frank Sinatra Desert Classic golf tournament in Palm Springs. (Sinatra himself spent small love on golf.) In December of '95 the lights on the Empire State Building were turned blue in celebration of Sinatra's 80th birthday, occasioning his last television appearance, singing 'New York, New York' at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Sinatra died in May of 1998, his last words in his hospital room in Los Angeles reportedly, "I'm losing," in response to his wife's encouragement to fight. The next night the lights on the Empire State Building were shown blue. Engraved on his headstone is "The Best Is Yet to Come". Among Sinatra's most notable collaborators over the years had been bandleader Count Basie, jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald and folk singer John Denver. Tracks below are alphabetical by year. More Pied Pipers under Jo Stafford below.

Frank Sinatra   1939

   From the Bottom of My Heart

      With Harry James

   Star Dust

      With Harry James

Frank Sinatra   1940

   I'll Never Smile Again

      With the Pied Pipers

   The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else

      With the Pied Pipers

   Polka Dots and Moonbeams

      With Tommy Dorsey

   There Are Such Things

      With the Pied Pipers

Frank Sinatra   1941

   Oh Look At Me Now

      With the Pied Pipers & Connie Haines

Frank Sinatra   1943

   It's Always You

      With Tommy Dorsey

Frank Sinatra   1954

   Young At Heart/Take a Chance

Frank Sinatra   1955

   Guys and Dolls

      Duet with Dean Martin

Frank Sinatra   1956

   I've Got You Under My Skin

      Composition: Cole Porter

Frank Sinatra   1958

   Come Fly With Me


Frank Sinatra   1959

   I Could Have Danced All Night

      Live performance   1962

Frank Sinatra   1962

   I Won't Dance

Frank Sinatra   1963

   I've Got You Under My Skin

Frank Sinatra   1964

   The Best Is Yet To Come

Frank Sinatra   1965

   Young At Heart

      Television performance

Frank Sinatra   1966

   Strangers In the Night

   That's Life

Frank Sinatra   1967

   Something Stupid

       With Grace Kelly

   Something Stupid

       With Nancy Sinatra

Frank Sinatra   1969

   My Way

Frank Sinatra   1979

   New York, New York



Born Frances Rose Shore in 1916 in Winchester, Tennessee, that "Southern Girl", Dinah Shore, made her first recordings in 1939 with Xavier Cugat. Though a swing era vocalist, Shore would later become most famous for a commercial tune done for General Motors: 'See the USA In Your Chevrolet'. Although something antithetical to Neil Young's 'This Note's For You' (Country 2), one might forgive her, considering all the rock music in general concerning such as hotrods "built for speed." Shore had graduated in 1938 from Vanderbilt University in Nashville with a degree in sociology. She first appeared on radio while in college at WSM. She picked up the name, Dinah, from a disc jockey who couldn't remember her name, calling her "that Dinah girl" as 'Dinah' was one of the songs she often sang. Her first professional employment as a vocalist after university was at WNEW radio, where she also sang with young Frank Sinatra. After working briefly with Cugat, Shore began acquiring national attention via CBS and NBC radio, largely via Henry Levine and the Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street. In 1943 Shore gained her own radio program called 'Call to Music', and radio would remain Shore's major medium throughout the forties. She also encountered Harry James in 1943, first recording with him for March of Dimes in Hollywood November: 'Now I Know'. She and James would hold several sessions together until 1948. Shore also first appeared in films in 1943, per the movie, 'Thank Your Lucky Stars', starring Eddie Cantor. In 1949 Shore appeared on 'The Ed Wynn Show', her debut television spot. (Shore had worked with NBC on experimental broadcasts in 1937 while in college. Television was first introduced to the public at the New York World's Fair in 1939. Franklin Roosevelt was the first President to appear on television, at that fair, on April 30. The broadcast was seen by only about 1000 viewers within a forty mile radius. But the next day, May 1, 1939, RCA began selling televisions, stores already stocked.) In April 1950 Shore was a guest on the first 'Bob Hope Show'. It was also 1950 that Shore made a rich deal with RCA to record one hundred tracks for one million dollars. The next year Shore began hosting 'The Dinah Shore Show' for NBC, beginning a long reign of some forty years in one fashion or another in that medium. (Her final television special was 'Dinah Comes Home' in 1991 for TNN.) Important musical collaborations in the sixties were with Nelson Riddle, André Previn and Red Norvo. Beyond music, Shore's major interest was golf, helping to found the Colgate Dinah Shore tournament (now the Kraft Nabisco Championship), and variously honored in association with that sport. Shore was elected into the Television Hall of Fame in 1991. She died of ovarian cancer in 1994 in Beverly Hills, California.

Dinah Shore   1939

   La Cumparsita

      With Xavier Cugat

   Jungle Drums

      With Xavier Cugat

Dinah Shore   1940


   Jumpin' Jive

   Mood Indigo

      With Paul Laval and his Woodwindy Ten

   The Rhumba Cardi

      With Xavier Cugat

   Whatever Happened To You

   With Xavier Cugat

Dinah Shore   1942

   Blues In The Night

Dinah Shore   1943

   Murder, He Says

   You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To

      Original composition: Cole Porter

Dinah Shore   1946

   Doin' What Comes Natur'lly

      With the Spade Cooley Orchestra

   The Gypsy

   Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy

Dinah Shore   1948

   Buttons and Bows

Dinah Shore   1949

   Dear Hearts And Gentle People

Dinah Shore   1952

   See the USA in your Chevrolet

Dinah Shore   1958

    With Pat Boone

   Chevrolet Commercial

   Chevrolet Commercial

   Peasy Weasy

       With Groucho Marx

Dinah Shore   1961

   Chevrolet Commercial


Birth of Swing Jazz: Dinah Shore

Dinah Shore

Photo: Glenn Embree

Source: Net Worth

Birth of Swing Jazz: Peggy Lee

Peggy Lee

Source: Jerry Jazz

Born Norma Deloris Egstrom in 1920 in Jamestown, North Dakota, Peggy Lee began releasing records in 1941 with Benny Goodman, showing up on 'Elmer's Tune' from a session on August 15 in Chicago. Her first professional employment had been with KVOC radio in Valley City, North Dakota, while yet in high school. It was Ken Kennedy of WDAY radio in Fargo who changed her name from Norma Egstrom to Peggy Lee. At seventeen Lee traveled to Los Angeles. By hook and crook she ended up in Chicago, performing at the Ambassador Hotel East where Goodman spotted her, needing a replacement for Helen Forrest. Lee was also a songwriter, her first work, 'Little Fool', published in 1941. In 1948, Lee issued her first collection of 78s, 'Rendezvous With Peggy Lee' (released again in 1952, with additional tracks, as an album). She broke into film in 1952, starring opposite Danny Thomas in the 1952 version of 'The Jazz Singer'. Lee performed into the nineties, dying of diabetes and heart attack in 2001 in Los Angeles, her gravestone reading, "Music is my life's breath". Her autobiography, 'Miss Peggy Lee', was published posthumously the next year. Peggy Lee was the inspiration for the Muppet character, Miss Piggy.

Peggy Lee   1941

   Blues In the Night

      With Benny Goodman

   How Long Has This Been Going On

      With Benny Goodman

   On the Sunny Side Of the Street

      With Benny Goodman

   Somebody Else Is Taking My Place

      With Benny Goodman

   Where Or When

      With Benny Goodman

   Winter Weather

      With Benny Goodman

Peggy Lee   1946

   You Can Depend On Me

Peggy Lee   1948


   Please Love Me Tonight

Peggy Lee   1956

   You've Got To See Mamma Every Night

Peggy Lee   1960

   I Could Have Danced All Night



Born Anita Belle Colton in 1919 in Chicago, Anita O'Day began her music career as an endurance dancer at age fourteen, sometimes called upon to sing. She gave up touring with dance marathons in 1936 to become a chorus girl in Chicago. O'Day was soon singing in nightclubs, several of them, until her giant break occurred in 1941, joining Gene Krupa's orchestra to replace Irene Daye. Her first tracks were 'Drum Boogie' and 'Fool Am I' on March 1 for a radio broadcast from the Meadowbrook in Cedar Grove, NJ. She and Krupa recorded 'Drum Boogie' at least seven times that year. O'Day is thought to have changed her name from Colton because it was pig Latin for "dough" (money). First appearing in film with Krupa in 1942 (short soundies), she also recorded 34 tracks with him until his arrest for marijuana possession in 1943. O'Day then joined Woody Herman's band, then sang with the Nat King Cole Trio, followed by Stan Kenton's orchestra in May of 1944, the latter resulting in 21 recordings. She was back with Krupa in '45. In 1947 she herself was jailed for marijuana possession. O'Day was arrested a second time for cannabis in 1952, but found not guilty. Between 1952 and '62 she issued 17 albums for Norman Granz, her first, 'Anita O'Day Sings Jazz' (reissued in 1957 as 'The Lady Is a Tramp'). Upon release from jail for heroin possession in 1954 she recorded and released her second album, 'Songs by Anita O'Day' (reissued in 1956 as 'An Evening with Anita O'Day'). Notable in 1958 was her performance at the Newport Jazz Festival, documented in the film, 'Jazz on a Summer's Day'. The next year she toured Europe with Benny Goodman. Her final studio release was in 2006, the album, 'Indestructible!'. O'Day died in her sleep on Thanksgiving Day in 2006, while hospitalized in West Hollywood for pneumonia.

Anita O'Day   1941

   Drum Boogie

      Recorded October 1 at the Hollywood Palladium

   Let Me Off Uptown

   The Walls Keep Talking

Anita O'Day   1942

   Thanks For the Boogie Ride


Anita O'Day   1945

   How Come

Anita O'Day   1956

   Honeysuckle Rose

      Film short with the Buddy DeFranco Quartet

   Time After Time

      With the Buddy Bregman Orchestra

Anita O'Day   1958

   My Funny Valentine

      Newport Jazz Festival

   Sweet Georgia Brown

      Newport Jazz Festival

   Take the 'A' Train

   Tea For Two

      Newport Jazz Festival

Anita O'Day   1963

   4 Brothers

      Live in Tokyo

Anita O'Day   1970

   Soon It's Gonna Rain

      Live in Berlin


Birth of Swing Jazz: Anita O'Day

Anita O'Day

Source: Jazz Labels

Birth of Swing Jazz: Ella Mae Morse

Ella Mae Morse

Source: Folie Magazine


Born in 1924 i Mansfield, Texas,  Ella Mae Morse was but 17 when she joined the band of boogie woogie pianist Freddie Slack and made her first recording, 'Cow Cow Boogie' (1942). That was also Capitol Records' first gold disc. Although Morse last recorded in 1957 she continued working nightclubs on both coasts into the nineties, such as Michael's Pub in New York and Ye Little Pub, the Cinegrill and the Vine St. Bar and Grill in Los Angeles. She also appeared at Disneyland for several years with the Ray McKinley Orchestra and toured Australia. Morse died in 1999 of heart failure in Bullhead, Arizona. Morse is an excellent example of transition from boogie woogie and swing toward rock and roll. Indeed, some consider her the first rock vocalist. More Ella Mae Morse in A Birth of Rock n Roll 2.

Ella Mae Morse   1942

   Cow Cow Boogie

   Get On Board, Little Chillun

   He's My Guy

   Mister Five By Five

   Old Rob Roy

   The Thrill Is Gone

Ella Mae Morse   1943

   Milkman Keep Those Bottles Quiet

   The Patty Cake Man

   Shoo Shoo Baby

   Solid Potato Salad

Ella Mae Morse   1945

   House Of Blue Lights

   Rip Van Winkle

   Ya Betcha

Ella Mae Morse   1953

   Forty Cups Of Coffee

   Money Honey



84 Years of 'On the Sunny Side of the Street'

Composition: Jimmy McHugh    Lyrics: Dorothy Fields

Clicquot Club Eskimos   1930

Grace Hayes   1930

Layton and Johnstone   1930

Ted Lewis   1930

Harry Richman   1930

Louis Armstrong   1934

Coleman Hawkins   1934

Chick Webb   1934

Casa Loma Orchestra   1935

Lionel Hampton   1937

Duke Ellington/Ivie Anderson   1938

Nat King Cole   1940

Benny Goodman/Peggy Lee   1941

Chu Berry   1941

Judy Garland   1942

Erroll Garner   1944

Lionel Hampton/Bing Crosby   1944

Coleman Hawkins   1944

Billie Holiday   1944

Jo Stafford   1944

Art Tatum   1944

Tommy Dorsey   1945

Django Reinhardt/Hubert Rostaing   1946

Ella Mae Morse   1947

Lester Young/Oscar Peterson   1952

Frank Sinatra   1953

Keely Smith   1953

Les Paul/Mary Ford   1955

Teddy Wilson   1956

Dizzy Gillespie/Sonny Rollins/Sonny Stitt   1957

Paul Quinichette   1957

Norma Bengell   1959

Teddy Charles   1959

Keely Smith   1959

Johnny Mathis   1960

Doris Day   1961

Four Freshmen   1961

Johnny Hodges   1961

Brenda Lee   1961

Marty Robbins   1962

Ella Fitzgerald   1963

Stevie Wonder   1963

Joni James   1964

Johnny Tillotson   1964

Dean Martin   1966

Jimmy McGriff   1966

Tony Bennett   1967

Ruby Braff/Ralph Sutton   1968

Udo Jürgens   1969

James Booker   1977

Willie Nelson   1978

Harry Connick Jr.   1987

Sidney Bechet   1991

Marie Muldaur   1992

Diana Krall   1993

Jimmy Bruno   1994

John Pizzarelli   1953

Steve Tyrell   1995

Michael Kaeshammer   1998

Lisa Ono   1999

Nicholas Payton   2001

Terence Blanchard/Cassandra Wilson   2001

Dave Brubeck Quartet   2003

Cyndi Lauper   2003

Roberta Gambarini   2006

Robin McKelle   2006

Manhattan Transfer   2008

Mike Jones   2009

McFly   2010

Rod Stewart   2010

Nikki Yanofsky   2010

Thomas Winteler/Gunhild Carling   2011

Trombone Shorty   2011

Jonathan Batiste   2013

Dixieland Crackerjacks   2013

Silvia Fusè   2013

Abigail Riccards   2013

Halie Loren   2013

John Morrison   2013

Marta Roma/Guillem Roma   2013

Classic Jazz Quartet   2014

Dixieland Jazz Trio   2014




We proceed no further than Ella Mae Morse on this page of swing era vocalists. We will be adding more as they occur.




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